Forum Highlights


April 16-17, 2015
India Habitat Center - New Delhi

The United States Agency for International Development and Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) held a dialogue on the emerging role of women entrepreneurs in clean energy and sustainable development with key institutional stakeholders at the wPOWER (Partnership for women entrepreneurship in clean energy) Global Partnership Forum held on April 16-17 at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.

The Forum was opened by Ms Varsha Joshi, Joint Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Govt of India and Mr John Beed, Mission Director, USAID/India.

The Forum brought grassroots women entrepreneurs known as Sakhis, from Maharashtra and Bihar to the center stage to share their experience on how the wPOWER program has unlocked economic growth opportunities for women in the clean energy business.

The key objective of the Forum was to highlight the role of women entrepreneurs as the ‘last mile’ connectors to improve clean energy access in underserved areas. Notable speakers spelt out the wPOWER global agenda to catalyze the ‘women in renewable energy’ movement through innovative market based partnership models, a roadmap to develop affordable innovations and improve access to clean energy solutions, finance, and markets.

”Women do not need empowerment. What is needed is for all stakeholders to create an enabling ecosystem for them to flourish as entrepreneurs. Investing in women makes great economic sense.” said Mr. John Beed, Mission Director, USAID India

“Women can play a critical role in the clean energy chain and the Government is keen to support scaling up of such initiatives “said Ms Varsha Joshi, Joint Secretary, MNRE, Govt of India.

We were humbled by the presence of over a 195 delegates including representatives from key stakeholders–senior government officers, bilateral and multilateral agencies, financial institutions, corporates and innovative social enterprises…and were delighted that all engaged with the stars of the Forum – our Sakhis from Maharashtra and Bihar as well as the women entrepreneurs who travelled down from different corners of Africa, especially for this Forum. High level experts participated in the Forum including Wanjira Mathai, Chair Greenbelt movement, Kenya and corporate leaders from Godrej, First Energy and Eureka Forbes.

Over the two days, several significant issues were bought to the fore – access to capital for end users and enterprise, ensuring last mile connectivity and specific product development for rural areas. All speakers were in complete agreement that women are the fundamental force in ensuring green communities.

It was a proud moment for us when Sakhis shared their dream of establishing a ‘Grassroots Women Leadership Institute’….proving once again that their aspirations, their dreams are much larger than we can ever envision… As Chetna Gala Sinha, founder Mann Deshi Mahila Bank so aptly remarked “we have poor solutions for poor communities…we need to listen to them and partner with them”.  The wPOWER initiative is our endeavor to partner and learn from rural wisdom.


wPOWER Global Partnership Forum in pictures
Launch of Resource Guide – wPOWER: Connecting the Dots…
General V.K. Singh with wPOWER women entrepreneurs from India and Africa
A song by wPOWER India Sakhis to kick-off the Forum John Beed delivering his opening plenaryaddress
wPOWER Africa
entrepreneur Hannah sharing her story
wPOWER India Sakhi
Sadhana Deshmukh sharing her story
Participants celebrate with a dance
General V.K.Singh and Prema Gopalan at the Forum
General V.K.Singh with wPOWER entrepreneurs
The Closing Plenary Panel