Women Empowerment through Solar Entrepreneurship

March 31st, 2014

CARE Women with d.light Solar LampWe’re thrilled to share one of Shell Tameer’s latest projects through its partnership with CARE International in Pakistan focused on empowering women in the rural agricultural belts of Sindh and Punjab. Many of the communities in these regions have very limited or no access to electricity, and to help bridge this gap, through its partnership with CARE International in Pakistan, and new strategic collaboration with three organizations d.lightEcoEnergyFinance and  Reon Energy Solutions, Tameer is developing alternative energy enterprises.

This focus on alternative energy enterprise generation began with Tameer engaging with 7,000 young people during a lubricants business campaign, of which over 3,500 women were CARE International Community Infrastructure Improvement Project (CIIP) beneficiaries. From this group of women, Tameer aims to train 1,000 women in a number of untraditional enterprise generation alternatives, of which alternate energy is one enterprise option.    

Workshops that began in October 2013 have already trained over 270 women, not only to raise awareness about different enterprise models and combination approaches, but also becoming brand ambassadors to be able to influence their communities on what alternative energy products are and how to use and demonstrate the d.light product line to potential customers.

Because most of the households and business located in these rural communities including Qambar, Ghotki, Thatta, Tendo Allayar, Mirpurkhas in Sindh and Kot Addu, Vehari, Multan, Ali Pur and Rajan Pur in Punjab do not have steady sources of electricity, d.light solar products are an incredibly revolutionary introduction to resident’s lives. Young men and women, unable to work during the day to support their families and then study at night are now able to do so. Crafts workers working on rallis, chit mats, embroidery, embellishments, dresses and accessories, who before only had between 4 and 5 hours of good light in which to work on their trade, now have double that time, allowing them to increase their productivity. At the moment they travel up to 5 to 10 km per day and spend Rs. 20 on average per trip to charge their mobile telephones. An enterprise opportunity for them is one of the d.light products which also has a mobile charging facility, enabling users to avoid the commute, and save money for something else.  

Once these micro solar entrepreneurs began distributing products while the demonstration of how these products can be used to maximum efficiency and utility, it is expected that each woman will be able to earn up to Rs. 1,000 every month, a 25% increase from the average daily income which their households currently make from higher risk options including livestock, poultry and fish farms.

Furthermore, students from local Sindh and Thatta universities along with of Institute of Business Administration (IBA) have been trained through the TIDE internship program to not only train these micro entrepreneurs, but help them develop market linkages between their rural-based activities and urban centres.