SUMMARY: Empower Generation (EG) seeds and supports women-led clean energy enterprises serving Nepal’s energy poor. We envision a world where women lead the clean energy revolution, reducing deforestation and fossil fuel use. Our entrepreneur network enables clean energy technology suppliers access to remote markets where their products are in high demand.
PROBLEM SPACE: “EG addresses the intersection of two major issues plaguing the developing world: women’s exclusion from the economy and energy poverty.
Globally women are marginalized and undervalued. In our seed market of Nepal this is particularly egregious_ Nepal is one of the top source countries for human trafficking, and women are denied the ability to own property. More than 60% are illiterate and many marry as young as 15. Less than 12% participate in the non agricultural workforce. Social traditions restrict women to the household and opportunities for financial inclusion and leadership are non-existent.
Globally over a billion people live without electricity. Over 7 million people in Nepal have no access to electricity. Over 20 million have unreliable access, regularly experiencing power cuts. Nepali’s have 2 choices: live life in the dark, unable to power homes and places of business or, rely on kerosene, candles and firewood. Kerosene is dangerous and expensive. Women spend up to eight hours per day collecting firewood for cooking. Millions live with respiratory illnesses related to indoor smoke. An average Nepali family (supporting 5 people on under $50 a month) relying on kerosene and firewood has to spend close to 25% of their income on energy expenses.”
SOLUTION: “EG delivers clean energy solutions to the energy poor by empowering and training local women to own businesses, manage a sales force, and sell solar power, improved cook stoves and clean water filters. We support the only women-led distribution network in Nepal reaching bottom-of-the-pyramid customers. EG provides marketing materials, training (sales, marketing, business basics, bookkeeping), mobile payments, product warranty and service to each agent in our network. EG provides professional development opportunities and a revolving line of credit for inventory to each female business owner. EG holds sales promotion and recruiting programs in target, rural communities. EG monitors businesses regularly and provides ongoing empowerment training and support to CEOs and agents.
Women-led enterprises and agents are expanding access to clean energy across Nepal. EG targets women living in Nepal’s rural pre-urban communities where families spend up to 20% of the household income on lighting alone. EG works with marginalized women, such as indigenous women and members of the Dalit (untouchable) caste, often with limited education and married as young as fifteen. By training women to provide critical energy services to their communities, and by empowering them as business owners, they significantly increase their stature as well as their income.”
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