Harnessing Creative Solutions to Energy Access: Celebrating International Women’s Day


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Access to consistent, efficient, and affordable energy is a human right that, for billions of people, is hard to imagine living without. The global reality, however, reflects a jarring truth: 1 in 10 people do not have access to any electricity and over 33%–2.4 billion people–don’t have access to clean cooking solutions. 75% of people without electricity live in countries in Africa.

Every International Women’s Day, we imagine a world where equity is the norm for marginalized genders in challenging global contexts. This international Women’s Day, we celebrate the innovations in our portfolio and the women who harness them to support their entrepreneurship, maximize on their ingenuity, honour their passion for the environment, and uplift their desire to care for themselves and their families in dignified ways.

Across countries on the continent, women are emerging as champions of change, harnessing innovative approaches to uplift their communities while driving sustainable development. Let’s take a closer look at how three innovations have enabled women to take charge of their own energy needs and champion sustainable, affordable options to members of their community.


Kyakuhaire Justine: Leading the Charge on Environmental Change

“I embraced this because…I am a farmer and briquettes are received from crop residue, meaning that it’s sustainable to use briquettes as compared to firewood and charcoal. 20 acres of trees were cut between 2007-2023, and if we continue, what will happen? Environmental degradation will increase the negative impacts of climate change.”

Kyakuhaire Justine moved to a village in the Kiryandogo district of Uganda in the early 2000’s. Years and seasons passed, and she noticed the diminishing forests and increased cost of firewood in her community. Justine is a farmer, and at first, was skeptical about the briquettes produced from agro-waste that Mandulis Energy was socializing in her community.

Not long after their introduction, however, she began to see their benefits: the briquettes cost her significantly less than firewood, and they are produced from agricultural waste, which she has in abundance. She also realized that widespread uptake of briquette use in her community would contribute to preserving the existing trees in her community, which she had noticed had diminished so significantly that she was re-planting them herself.

Now, Justine is an avid believer in the importance of sustainable energy use for cooking, and has told her story in depth to Mandulis Energy’s community to rally global awareness and support for the project. Hear more from Justine and others like her, and learn more about the work of Mandulis energy, here.

Prossy Alena: Harnessing Solar Power for Resilience

Kenya has an overall electrification rate of 75%, which, by regional standards, is quite the success. In Turkana county, where the Kakuma and Kalobeyi refugee camps are located, only 15% of people have access to electricity, and residents at the camps face significant barriers to access it.

In the camps, residents are reliant on “dirty fuel”–charcoal, cow dung, firewood, and propane, which are a massive financial burden on families and contribute to the health crisis caused by indoor pollution in regions of Kenya with low electrification.

In Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp, one woman, Prossy Alena, felt the compounding stress of a lack of clean, affordable cooking methods for her family. International organizations provided food and firewood rations to her family, but the latter was not enough to meet her family’s needs.

Prossy’s life was transformed by Sun Buckets, a thermal storage unit that captures and stores solar energy for cooking. Harnessing the power of the sun, she can now cook meals, light her home, and charge her devices.

Access to energy enabled Prossy to efficiently and creatively address her and her family’s needs. An entrepreneurial spirit led her to use the Sun Buckets to start a small food business to generate income for her family’s needs. Efficient, affordable, consistent and clean energy not only met the immediate needs of her family, but enabled her to harness her capabilities to build a better life.

Hadiza Yakubu: Revolutionizing Farming Practices

In Lafia Kpada, Nigeria, Hadiza Yakubu, a dedicated farmer, was used to relying on expensive, manual processing methods for her crop, limiting her ability to add value to her existing farm produce.

She leveraged one of Prado Power’s initiatives, a grinder in the agro-processing hub, to process a range of produce from her farm, maximizing on the value of her product by expanding her market opportunities. By taking advantage of the agro-processing hub, Hadiza diversified her business, improved her livelihood, and provided access to a range of products to her clientele.