“I don’t lose any opportunity of spreading the word about solar energy. We see the Prime Minister taking leadership to create solar villages. I feel proud that my village has joined this nationwide effort.” - Uma Shitole, entrepreneur Osmanabad district, Maharashtra.
“Earlier I struggled to communicate but now I am able to speak on clean energy and environment issues to customers, with confidence. wPOWER program gave me an opportunity start an enterprise and as a result receive the award from the Government.” - Pooja Jagtap, entrepreneur, Maharashtra.
Uma and Pooja are Sakhis among one thousand village level women entrepreneurs whose lives have been transformed through the entrepreneurship journey facilitated by Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) supported by USAID /India.
Partnership on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Renewables (“wPOWER”) globally aims to empower more than 8,000 women clean energy entrepreneurs across East Africa, Nigeria and India who will deliver clean energy access to more than 3.5 million people over the next three years. The wPOWER India empowers women as clean energy entrepreneurs and climate change leaders, while creating a robust ecosystem that allows their networks to access technology, finance and markets. Since 2012, this program has empowered 1000 village level entrepreneurs to launch businesses to market clean cook stoves, bio fuel, solar lamps, lights etc. in Maharashtra and Bihar. In recognition of the innovative business model, that seeks to empower rural women with enhanced skills and incomes SSP was awarded by the Government of Maharashtra and Bihar in 2014.
In 2014, leveraging strategic partnerships in Africa with Wangari Maathai Institute, Solar Sisters and Care International, SSP has begun sharing its innovative practices, new models of women entrepreneurship in clean energy and environment stewardship in the context of climate change.
Together, USAID India and SSP are organizing the wPOWER Global Partnership Forum to be held in New Delhi on April 16 -17, 2015 in order centre stage the emergence of women entrepreneurs as leaders in the context of clean energy and climate change and acknowledge their contribution as sustainable entrepreneurs and impact creators. The wPOWER forum will unveil how these Sakhis– as part of the SSP last mile network of entrepreneurs, have reached out to popularise clean energy awareness, bringing information, sustainable solutions and services to the rural doorstep, making an impact on millions of lives. The interaction will bring together grassroots women intrepreneurs/leaders and other stakeholders (such as policy-makers, donors, social entrepreneurs and technology innovators) to evaluate, debate openly and share their perspectives on involving women in creating a sustainable and inclusive ecosystems.