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Solar Energy for Women’s Empowerment

Friday, 08 March 2019 12:46 Written by 


The project aims to strengthen gender equality, empower rural women and tackle environmental degradation using solar-powered electrification. It will transform rural women’s lives by increasing income and social capital through integration in the distribution of energy from a solar generator, and promoting the use of improved stoves.


In Burundi, there is an excessive use of firewood for fuel and low electrification rate (5%, compared to average of 16% across Africa, 41% average in other low-income countries). This limits economic capacity and impedes on children’s access to education. The burden of wood gathering exacerbates inequalities, including an increased safety risk for women. Finally, the use of firewood for fuel is contributing to Burundi’s rapid forest degradation, which is currently at risk of complete destruction by 2024. 


The light fountain is a solar system with 1 or 2 panels and rechargeable lamps which are rented by women’s associations to the communities with a commercial fee. Income generated from the lamps will be partially used for reinvestment and business expansion.

The project will also promote the fabrication and use of improved stoves by women as an incentive to access the light fountain lamps. Contracts will be signed with selected women’s associations to engage in the production of improved stoves, and members will be trained to produce and use improved stoves in their households.

Expected results (financial and technical):

  1. 80% beneficiaries have increased up to 10% their revenues from solar energy-related activities 
  2. Additional resources mobilised for women and access to energy
  3. Women become active economic agents in their communities through their roles in the distribution of energy and protection of the environment
  4. Broadened partnerships with Swiss cooperation, European Union and other stakeholders
  5. Women, men and children have access to domestic lighting and energy for their basic needs

Other expected benefits include:

  • Solar energy is promoted in rural areas and entrepreneurs are more interested in this sector
  • Schoolchildren improve their evening study conditions
  • Gender based violence is reduced
  • Basic social services are improved thanks to the availability of night lighting
  • The use of wood is reduced
  • Women save time and participate in social activities.

The Ministries of Energy and of Gender will be involved in the choice of sites and localities and will be in charge of supervising the implementation of the project as well as seeking additional funding.

The Ministry of Energy supports the resource mobilisation efforts, for example through the organisation of a multi-stakeholder round table event, and through facilitation and coordination.

The Ministry of Gender supports grassroot engagement with women, through their Community Based Development Centres (CDFC). The CDFC, in partnership with a selected CSO, will engage with and follow up on the activities of the women’s groups.

A local CSO will lead women’s training in improved stoves fabrication and the monitoring of their household use.

The project includes an exploration of South-South Cooperation exchanges relevant to energy solutions. Part of the project strategy is the ongoing mobilisation of funds, including stakeholder engagement, for example with Swiss Cooperation Agency and The European Union as energy solutions and women’s empowerment align with their priorities.

Provider Country: Burundi/UNDP

Beneficiary Country: Burundi

Supported by: UNDP (Innovation Fund)

Implementing Agency: Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Gender, Local CSO

Project Status: On-going

Project Period: 14/06/2018 – 31/12/2019

Contact Person: Aminata Ba, Gender Advisor, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pascal Mukanya, Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Read 5272 times Last modified on Wednesday, 13 March 2019 06:25
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