Our delivery model is gender neutral, since we require no deposits, nor access to credit, nor require home or land ownership. However, the provision of power has a greater positive impact on women and girls, who carry-out most of the household chores. Increased access to electricity empowers women through decreased time spent on daily household chores, and allows improved health, increased opportunities to enhance income and improved quality of life.
Kerosene lamps are a major source of indoor pollution and many women and girls suffer respiratory problems as a result of the longer hours spent in the house. Solar lights eliminate the pollution from kerosene lamps. Lighting in health clinics is important for all, but especially for women in child-birth at night. Provision of light to allow health workers to better monitor the mother and baby’s health has been shown to be the biggest single contribution to a decrease in maternal deaths.
Electricity access increases livelihood opportunities for women who can set up small, home-based micro-enterprises related to grinding, milling, weaving, or tending vegetable plots. Such opportunities are near-term goals of this project and part of the program design. Studies have shown the beneficial impact of electricity on existing micro-enterprises by increasing worker productivity, leading to higher sales volume and thus higher gross revenue.
We are seeking to encourage women to take up the opportunity to become our village agents. African women have shown a greater aptitude for running credit finance and savings group and for selling household goods. In Muslim and traditionally tribal communities, women agents will have easier access to houses to install and repair the Solar Home Systems.