Who are the women bringing clean energy to Africa’s gridless?

March 08, 2019

Thousands of African women are bringing clean energy to millions of people without power across the continent. Today on International Women’s Day, we are here to celebrate them!

In the green rolling hills of Plateau State in central Nigeria, power lines are few and far between. Nanbet, a formidable young woman, lives here, farming and raising five children on her own. She grows potatoes, maize and beans. And now, after training and support, she is a clean energy entrepreneur with her own business. For Nanbet, her energy business means two things: she can grow more to feed her children properly and she gets to have an impact on her community.

Solar changes people’s lives really, and reduces poverty. People are surprised to see what level I am at now. And many of my customers tell me after they buy the product that it reduces costs for them. — Nanbet

Thousands of women like Nanbet are already working hard to spread clean energy in rural and low-income communities across Africa. We know these women because we work with them. 

Solar Sister Entrepreneur and staff in Nigeria
Nanbet with her kids and Solar Sister’s associate Hanatu, Nigeria.


We are three organizations – ElleSolaire, SolarAid and Solar Sister – who are committed to training and supporting African women to lead clean energy enterprises across the continent. So today on International Women’s Day, we share with you three important facts about the resourceful African women with whom we have worked over the last decade.

1. African women are running their own clean energy businesses

Women are running clean energy businesses in their communities and we are helping them do it. We know when local women get the opportunity, training and tools, they create successful businesses that allow their families to thrive. 

2. African women are using social networks to reach more people with clean energy

Women are trusted members of their communities and have access to wide networks. As managers of household energy, carers, farmers, teachers, health workers, members of church groups, and owners of small enterprises, women are deeply rooted in their communities making them great advocates and salespeople of clean energy.

graphic for womens daygraphic for women's day

3. African women have a lot to say to decision-makers about access to energy

We don’t hear enough from those most directly affected. In sub Saharan Africa, as with other regions, women face deeply rooted obstacles to achieving their economic potential. Women also manage household energy. They are also deeply knowledgeable and creative problem solvers.  

Read and share these stories about women entrepreneurs.