Empowering women with renewable energy - Our inspiring stories
Ololade George-Aremu considers her work as a “blueprint” for many other organisations. Being the Vice-President People and Culture at Arnergy Solar, a renewable energy startup and one of our major partners within the framework of the ElectriFi country window in Nigeria, she knows about the opportunities that the sector can bring to women with skills and ambitions. Ololade loves “the opportunity to show the younger women and even my younger colleagues that it is possible to be a woman in a male-dominated industry and still make maximum impact.” Her story is fully in line with our approach and that of our partners and the fact that in our projects we have a high rate of women in senior management.
According to Ololade, being able to shape the culture on the value women bring to Arnergy has resulted in a happier labour force, reduced job turnovers, and higher job satisfaction and productivity levels. But this of course, does not come without effort. “Beyond the gender perspective, women must go after specific skills set to bridge the knowledge gap in this sector. I think it’s also a mindset where specific roles or jobs are perceived to belong to the men-folk.” However, strengthening women’s role in renewable energy through better education and other measures would boost progress towards SDGs on energy, gender equality, health, and education, among others.
Full interview with Ololade George-Aremu by BusinessDay Magazine can be read here
Another partner of ours, Azuri in Kenya, a pioneer in pay-as-you-go solar home solutions for off-grid Africa, is equally engaged in bringing women on board. The company has just announced its inaugural Inspiring Women’s Awards to celebrate women’s empowerment and influence in rural communities.
Based on peer feedback, the 10 most inspirational female staff, including field agents and customer care representatives of the solar company’s Kenyan network, have been recognised for their outstanding contributions. The award is part of Azuri’s Brighter Lives initiative which works to empower rural women in Sub-Saharan Africa through access to technology, in-depth commercial and technical training and equal opportunities employment. One of the winners, Diana Akinyi Onyango, said “I am so grateful to hear that I am inspiring to my peers. I was the first one to begin selling the items in Kakamega and so happy to now be a team leader.”
Read the full Press Release about the Inspiring Women’s Awards here
Apart from encouraging women to strive for leading and management positions in the renewable sector, our investments and projects and that of our partners continue to improve the life of female entrepreneurs in many sectors, especially in rural areas. As for today, 84% of ElectriFI portfolio complies with the criteria of 2X Challenge – a programme of the G7 and other Development Finance Institutions, DFIs, to invest in the world’s women.
And these investments have life-changing impacts. One example is Helen Tetteh, an experienced dressmaker in Big Ada, Ghana, who received a Solar Home System from our partner PEG – the leading off-grid asset financing company in West Africa, distributing PAYG solar home technology to consumers who lack access to reliable electricity. Before getting engaged with PEG, life was not always easy, as Helen recalls:
“With lots of orders coming in, I sometimes have to work deep into the night which is often cut short because of power outage. Now with PEG, this does not occur and more work is completed for my clients. This has helped to increase profit for my business and improve my deliveries to customers. I am able to charge my phones and stay connected with clients, suppliers, family and friends. As a result of this tremendous change in my economic and domestic life, I have decided to be a PEG Solar ambassador, referring many people in my community to this awesome clean, renewable energy at affordable repayment terms.”
Read more inspiring impact stories from PEG customers here