Odeh Village is a small community of a few thousand people who live on the banks of the Niger river, totally cut off from electricity. This is what we call “last mile” where most energy providers do not reach, where Solar Sister heads for.
To reach Odeh village, drive two hours north of Onitsha city, Nigeria’s industrial center with the world’s worst air pollution, and then take a 15-minute boat ride across the Niger river.
Odeh is a riverine community of a few thousand people of farmers and fishermen. It’s a good example of the “last mile,” off-grid communities where wood fires, kerosene lamps, AA batteries and – for those who can afford it – small petrol-powered generators are your only energy options.
Solar Sister’s Business Development Manager, Chinenye Anekwe, is a champion of Odeh community and supports the women entrepreneurs trying to transform energy options here.
Margaret is a farmer who became a Solar Sister entrepreneur in 2017. Initially, she was skeptical and didn’t believe that people would buy the solar products. But she knows well the extra costs associated with even simple things like charging mobile phones in Odeh.
I focus on selling the phone charging solar lamps. Here we must go to the market across the river to charge our phones. You pay to charge your phone plus the cost of the boat. My customers are so happy to charge their phones at home for free. — Margaret
Victoria is a Solar Sister entrepreneur from a community just up the river from Odeh. People in this area fish and farm cash crops like groundnuts, potatoes, and yams. Victoria, who is a mother, grandmother and primary school teacher, knows that harvest time, when people have cash in hand, is the best time to sell products. She puts in the work to spread the message about why switching to clean energy will transform households.
I explain the benefits to everyone, walking about from village to village and from farming camp to camp. This is my strategy, I walk a lot. — Victoria
After she was named top Solar Sister entrepreneur across Nigeria,Victoria won a motorbike to help her reach more people in the dispersed communities in her area. To date, she has sold over 940 products and reached 4,700 people in remote communities in Anambra.
Victoria is an inspiring example of how local women entrepreneurs are overcoming historical and geographical obstacles, and getting clean energy options to remote communities.
Beatrice is a farmer from Odeh who became a Solar Sister entrepreneur in 2015.
I go house to house at night, so people really see the impact that a light has in the darkness. Especially compared to kerosene lamps, you see the brightness of the solar lamps.