It is often argued that limitations are the fuel for creativity – innovation and ambition not being reliant upon access to technological tools or even much financial support. If the above idea is true, then Africa’s advances in the last five years are proof positive that willful ingenuity is the real backbone of groundbreaking entrepreneurial successes. CNN has been running an excellent series on African nations’ new role in devising ingenious uses for mobile phones – from banking to medical advice – and ways to harness renewable energy resources to help create better lives in many seriously impoverished areas.
The latest article details how a new initiative to be bring solar power to poor areas is helping those without electricity and empowering the women who are selling this unique service. Katherine Lucey is the founder of Solar Sister, an organization built around women helping poor communities escape ‘energy poverty’ by providing affordable solar-powered devices such as lights, and mobile phone chargers, ultimately helping those desperately in need of energy sources. According to the article, Solar Sister’s model is “creating access to safe, affordable and clean energy while helping women to earn a steady income to support their families…in almost all cases we see them using that (money) to spend on education for their children.”
This initiative is helping communities get more from the day, as children can now study at night and reduce the risk of fire damage from kerosene lamps and the cost of running them. With the statistics saying that a staggering third of the world is without electricity, Lucey raises an interesting point that the problem “is not going to be solved by philanthropy, it’s going to be solved by some kind of market mechanism where people have access to this product … and purchase as they need it.” This argument can be extrapolated for many of the renewable energy initiatives, and for governmental protocols as well, and is another example of Africa leading the change in both environmental and economic sustainability.