Can energy access help empower women in Uganda?

Posted on 01/11/2017 16:06:22

Can energy access help empower women in Uganda?

Spend any time in rural Uganda and one of the things that will strike you is the level of gender inequality there.  While Ugandan women often work outside (and inside) of the home, earning a wage as well as providing for the family’s needs, the gender roles here are influenced by traditional social dynamics.

Put plainly, women in Uganda struggle for equality (Uganda ranks 110th on the Gender Equality index).  Their society places little value on education for girls and most jobs are traditionally seen as the role of men.   This is not something new to the women there, or to many global cultures. 

But here, there is a strong desire among women and girls to gain an education and use their entrepreneurial spirit as an opportunity to create income and empower themselves to create a better life.

The UN Global Goal 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls is of huge importance in countries such as Uganda, where the female population is willing and more than able to contribute to the local economy. 

Empowering girls and women to get an education and work has a positive knock-on effect. Once a woman earns an income, her decision-making power at home and in the wider community increases. This means she is no longer forced to depend on her husband and her children are more likely to go to school and to receive nutritious and regular meals.

Access to a reliable, clean and affordable energy supply is something you and I take for granted, but for women in Uganda, it is tool that can help them towards a better life.

Energise Africa is a ground-breaking initiative that provides people with the opportunity to invest in a range of pioneering businesses that install life-changing solar systems in homes in Sub-Saharan Africa – bringing clean energy and economic opportunities to families, whilst aiming to generate a 4-6 % annual return for investors*.

Access to solar energy means girls in Uganda are able to study for longer, both at school and at home, opening their future opportunities and helping bridge the gender gap in education.

For many women, solar power means they can build on their business ideas and turn them into profitable enterprises.

Take Mary for example.  She runs a barber shop in rural Uganda and has been earning a living from cutting hair for 15 years.  Recently, she got a solar installation from SolarNow, and this provides her shop with reliable and affordable electricity, meaning she can use electric razors for haircuts, increasing her turnover and profits by 30%.

Patience (in the photograph above) is another female business owner in rural Uganda.  She runs a small local store, that provides her with income to look after her young family.  Since getting solar, she has installed fridges, meaning she can sell cold drinks and refrigerated food to her customers, without the worry of high bills or power cuts.  Since getting solar, Patience’s shop’s popularity has greatly increased and her customer numbers multiplied.

Your investment in projects funded through Energise Africa could supply more women in sub-Saharan Africa with solar installations, along with the opportunities that solar power brings.Your capital is at risk and returns are not guaranteed.

Brought to you by two of Europe’s online impact investing platforms Ethex and Lendahand and supported by UK aid and Virgin Unite, Energise Africa intends to provide the critical investment needed to provide more than110,000 rural families with access to clean and affordable energy over the next 3 years. To see current Energise Africa projects visit