This is the story of a visionary who brought forth light and hope into the lives of women and communities in rural Africa through clean energy. Katherine Lucey, a former investment banker, witnessed the life- redefining effects of light and solar power while working with a small organization in Uganda. The organization focussed on helping African communities that lacked electricity by providing solar installations for homes, schools and clinics. Katherine noticed a huge positive turn around in African communities with this venture. With a few hours of extra light kids could study more, entrepreneurs extended their business hours, and with a solar powered water pump nurses could spend more time treating patients rather than spending hours fetching clean water.
Having gained inspiration from her experiences, Katherine Lucey founded Solar Sister in 2010. The inception of Solar Sister was in Uganda with 10 trainees and now they have expanded to Tanzania and Nigeria with 1200 women. The entrepreneurs purchase solar-powered panels, lanterns and phone chargers from Solar Sister and sell them to their communities. Entrepreneurs then use the profit to look after their households.
The intention of Solar Sister is multi faceted:
Improved health- They’re trying to replace kerosene and open- fire cooking with Solar lamps and clean cook- stoves reducing household pollution to a significant level.
Environmental benefits- Clean cook stoves reduce fuel use by 30- 60% resulting in fewer greenhouse gas and black carbon emissions.
Family welfare- Savings on household energy means more investment in nutrition, health and education.
Women empowerment- Organization creates sustainable businesses, powered by smart investment in women entrepreneurs. “When you invest in a woman, you invest in the future”