Empowering local women entrepreneurs & building solar energy access in rural Rajasthan

    Empowering local women entrepreneurs & building solar energy access in rural Rajasthan


    The households in areas in which our partner Frontier Market operates are one of the poorest in Rajasthan, comprised of agri -families & daily wage laborers, earning USD 1-3 per day. They lack access to electricity and are dependent on kerosene lanterns and battery torches. Lack of reliable energy increases women’s time spent on household responsibilities, reducing income generation opportunities. Low solar product penetration rate of 5-7%. Availability of low quality solar products; lack of after-sales service. Through this pilot, we aim to give them access to home lighting systems; bringing them access to lighting for the first time and reducing the use of kerosene.


    Women Entrepreneur (Solar Sahelis)

    Frontier Market named their women entrepreneur group Solar Sahelis. They are in the age group of 18-26 years. Most of them were married at the age of 14, are uneducated and have no channels for personal income generation. They are part of the Self-Help Group (SHG) program. They joined the Solar Saheli program a year ago, acquired a new skill set of communication, marketing, and sales, leading to an income generating opportunity. One Solar Saheli serves around 100-150 households in her village and leverages SHG for consumer financing.

     

    The story of Meena Devi (Silibavdi, Alwar)

    She is optimistic and confident and runs her own business via a Kirana shop. She got married at a young age, studied only till 6th standard and is a mother of four kids. Being a woman entrepreneur, who successfully runs a shop, she is a Solar Saheli as well as a Krashi Sakhi. She knows the nitty gritties of talking to a customer and understands the importance of clean energy and efficient solutions in our lives, which aides in promoting and selling products.

     

    She remembers an incident when some guests were at her home and suddenly the lights went out in the entire village. She quickly switched on her solar-powered home lighting system and lit up her house. When asked whether the power cut was short, she proudly told the guests that she is a Solar Saheli and the light is from her own solar powered system.

     

    Today she says she is proud to say that due to her efforts, more people are now using clean energy solutions.

     

    Quote from Kamlesh (Solar Saheli)

    “My brothers-in-law are giving me respect which I didn’t used to get from them earlier. I met with the Chief Minister of Rajasthan and I told this to my mother-in-law and they are very happy. At first, my mother-in-law said I didn’t know how to do anything right— how to eat, how to act, how to dress. But now my mother-in-law says her daughter-in-law has become independent and is a class apart from all the other women in the village”

    More stories from Signify Foundation

    • "Lighting library" for schools in Uganda

      "Lighting library" for schools in Uganda

      Access to light through a "lighting library" in schools, where students can use solar lanterns to take home to learn, play and create after dark in Uganda.

    • Empowering local women entrepreneurs & building solar energy access in rural Rajasthan

      Empowering local women entrepreneurs & building solar energy access in rural Rajasthan

      In rural Rajastan, India, agricultural farming families & daily wage laborers are dependent on kerosene lanterns and battery torches as lighting sources. Women have limited opportunities for income generation.

    • Creating an army of solar technicians to make solar a viable reality!

      Creating an army of solar technicians to make solar a viable reality!

      At a recent business reception, an African diplomat told me his roof top solar installation hadn’t been functioning for months and that he was at wits end in finding a technician locally to repair and maintain. He wondered whether I had any ideas or ways to help him, for instance by sending an expert technician to fix his problem once and for all. Though I was a bit taken aback by this request, as the meeting was in Utrecht in the Netherlands, it did get me thinking.

    lighting-foundation
    Registered charity in the Netherlands (ANBI), RSIN number 857684553.

    We'd love to hear from you