70% of Senegal’s rural population has no direct access to electricity, a critical factor in the high level of poverty. In January 2018, the Swedish Postcode Foundation awarded Energy 4 Impact a grant to implement the Productive and Empowered Women Entrepreneurs in Rural Senegal (PEWERS) programme.
PEWERS transforms livelihoods and decreases the hardship of manual labour by equipping women to develop businesses and services, through access to sustainable energy and affordable financing.
Thanks to the grant, we have already helped more than 1,200 women in 65 women’s agricultural cooperatives boost their productivity and viability. We selected the cooperatives on the basis of strong growth potential, mainly in the market gardening and agricultural processing sectors. With 50% of Sengalese food insecure, we also recognised the potential for PEWERS to contribute to food security.
We are targeting the support in three areas: coaching in entrepreneurship, management and commercial skills; facilitating financing to buy solar equipment through pilot grants and partnerships; and practical training including appliance maintenance and market gardening techniques.
says Abdoul Karim Dosso, Project Manager, Energy 4 Impact.
Our mentors In Thiès and Louga are highlighting the advantages of solar pumps for market gardening and helping with financing applications. Five solar pumps have arrived, thanks to the partnership between Energy 4 Impact and NRJ Solaire, as well as a grant from the Yamalé programme funded by the URBIS Foundation and implemented by Bonergie in Senegal. Yamalé subsidises the purchase of solar pumps for market gardening units which benefit vulnerable social groups in Senegal. Our team trains women to use and maintain the pumps and is also developing a market gardener's manual, containing pictorial sheets on know-how and techniques.
In the Fatick area, solar freezers are helping local juice cooperatives improve production processes and juice quality. Drawing on our relationships with partnering financial organisations, such as the Fatick Renewable Energy Development Program (PRODER), we offer the women affordable financing to purchase solar freezers and advise them on their use and maintenance.
Most of the market gardening cooperatives in Tambacounda already had solar pumps and equipment. However they lacked practical knowledge and expertise in horticulture, which was limiting profitability and viability.
said Hawa Diallo, President of GIE Wouli Sandougou village of Sinthiou Maleme.
In the Niayes zone, market gardening is improving women's incomes and reducing the rural exodus. Rose Sagna and her sisters-in-law operate a family association which produces vegetables. Although the women were generating income, high labour costs and buying fuel for motor pumps wasn’t leaving enough profit to reinvest for future growth. Thanks to Energy 4 Impact advising Rose on financing and endorsing her business plan, her cooperative received a subsidy to buy a solar pump from the Yamalé programme.
"Our mentors will continue to provide targeted business and practical coaching to these women's cooperatives and help them develop commercial links and strategic partnerships,” said Abdoul Karim Dosso. “It’s clear to see that working in partnership with Energy 4 Impact can boost their productivity and profitability, helping to improve livelihoods and bolster availability of fresh produce in the local communities.”