“If I have 24 women as entrepreneurs using solar technology, I can earn double my earnings and double my business… I am considering becoming a distributor”, advised one of the attendees of last week’s ‘Economic Empowerment of Women through Decentralized Renewable Energy’ workshop held in Abuja. The workshop was organized by Power for All in partnership with the Nigerian Women Trust Fund—a gender empowerment and political advocacy group—in order to engage more women in catalyzing local distributed renewable energy markets, drive female economic empowerment, and enable women’s voices to be heard in the energy access debate.
The event brought together 45 women market women leaders and traders from across the country, as well as representatives of the Rural Electrification Agency and gender rights and empowerment leaders. Presentations from Power for All partners, SOSAI Renewables, Consistent Energy, and Solar Sister enabled the entrepreneurs to learn about decentralized renewable energy (DRE)—including solar lanterns and solar home systems—before they joined discussions around energy and gender-based political advocacy, and the role of female entrepreneurship in energy access.
The workshop built interest from the female leaders in bringing decentralized energy solutions back to their communities, and improving their own businesses operations through DRE. One attendee explained: “as a trader, [distributed renewables] make plenty of economic sense, and for me it is how much more I can save or put in my pocket. The amount I spend on diesel is too much”, while another was keen to spread awareness of DRE, advising: “I never imagined I could grow my business and empower other women using sunlight energy, and it is almost free.”
The event laid the foundations for further engagement with women across the country, encouraged the female leaders and traders to take an active role in educating their peers around decentralized technologies, and led to a call for information on DRE to be shared with new audiences. Attendees were keen to remain involved, advising: “We want more of these trainings but also to get people that can do the trainings in local languages so that our women in the local area markets can benefit… we can spread the message but we will need help with materials and trainings.”
We look forward to working further with our partners, and these inspiring women, to drive energy access in Nigeria. Our thanks once again to all those whose important contributions helped to make the workshop a success.