Building a brighter future for Sharon with BRAC, Enlight and ACE


    May 15, 2020


    From dropping out of school to becoming a clean energy sales agent: Sharon breaks barriers by bringing access to clean energy to communities in rural Uganda.

    In Africa, Signify Foundation collaborates with local partners such as ACE, BRAC and Enlight to improve livelihoods in vulnerable communities.

    This is the story of Sharon Ayenyo, a young woman from Gulu, Uganda, who, after dropping out of school at the age of 14 to care for her two children, went through the BRAC Empowerment and livelihoods for Adolescents program (ELA). Afterward, she was hired by Enlight and trained as a solar sales agent. Today, Sharon is 30, and employed in the clean energy distribution company African Clean Energy (ACE), realizing her dreams! 

    Today, Sharon is 30, and employed in the clean energy distribution company African Clean Energy (ACE), realizing her dreams!"

    Sharon’s journey, however, hasn’t been easy: after working as a cashier and selling charcoal around Gulu town, she landed a sales job for a supermarket chain. The behavior of her supervisor led her to quit, even though that would bring hardship to her little family.


    Persevering, Sharon returned to the informal employment sector in order to earn enough money to cover her children’s school fees. She worked hard, selling porridge in the evenings while managing a mobile money kiosk on the side to make ends meet.

    ACE proj

    The opportunity with Enlight

    Through the community grapevine, Sharon got word that Enlight was looking for people to train for the role of solar sales agents. Enlight identified potential recruits through a partnership with BRAC Uganda’s ELA clubs that empower young women who have dropped out of school to become economically self-sufficient by gaining employable skills.

    After enrolling in Enlight’s recruitment boot camp, Sharon was interviewed and recruited by African Clean Energy (ACE), a social enterprise selling the ACE One, a clean cookstove and solar-powered home energy system.


    Before starting her placement with ACE, she completed her training in soft skills and sales with Enlight. For Sharon, this has opened doors that she could have never imagined and allows her to be the perfect role model for her young children.

    Sharon is also relieved to have the security of formal employment again. Following her negative encounter with her previous supervisor, Sharon was apprehensive about re-entering the world of formal employment.

    ACE girls

    Sharon finds empowerment through ACE

    Fortunately, Sharon has found her experience with ACE to be entirely different and truly empowering. “It’s now four months with ACE and everything is moving on well,” she says.

    ACE’s Sales Manager, Stella Aloyo, spoke of how impressed she is with Sharon’s work, “She’s one of my best performing sales agents, honestly, I have not found any fault with her”.

    Tyler Sanderson, ACE’s East African Operations Manager, gives Sharon equally high praise on the positivity and dedication with which she approaches her work. “She really is a gem of an employee.”
    Sharon finds empowerment through ACE
    According to Tyler, Sharon is always looking to learn more and improve within her role as sales agent. He feels she has the potential to move into roles with much greater responsibility within ACE in the future.

    When asked to advise her fellow youth, Sharon says “formal employment is tough. One needs to be persistent and reflect on their failures and successes. Have a positive attitude towards work, keep getting better at what you do and pray to God for the best.”

    She’s very grateful to BRAC and Enlight for walking the journey with her and investing in her training.

    About the author:

    Nakiryowa Esther Ketra

    Nakiryowa Esther Ketra


    Program Manager, Enlight Institute

    For further information, please contact:

    Signify Global Integrated Communications
    Neil Pattie
    Tel: + 31 6 15 08 48 17

    About Signify


    Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) is the world leader in lighting for professionals and consumers and lighting for the Internet of Things. Our Philips products, Interact connected lighting systems and data-enabled services, deliver business value and transform life in homes, buildings and public spaces. With 2019 sales of EUR 6.2 billion, we have approximately 38,000 employees and are present in over 70 countries. We unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. We have been named Industry Leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for three years in a row. News from Signify is located at the Newsroom, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Information for investors can be found on the Investor Relations page.

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