Women Earn Income for Their Families While Changing Their Communities Through Solar Energy Access

The “Empowering Women Microfranchisees” program trains rural women in energy poor communities to promote and sell renewable energy products and technologies to families without electricity. To date, IDEAS has trained over 85 women micro-franchisees, reaching over 20,400 new families (102,000 individuals) with education on how solar products could save them money, improve their health and improve their family well-being.

Due to widespread and chronic poverty in Nicaragua, women are threatened with landlessness, and severe competition for employment. The women of TecAp usually have less than secondary school education. Even if they start a small business, they have a low chance of success due to lack of financing and business knowledge.

However with TecAp, women join a non-profit social enterprise in which they earn money in their first month in business. This leads to economic advancement for women in rural communities in energy poor communities where there is a pressing need for productive solar energy.

TecAp has also trained over 85 women micro-franchisees who work with the youth technicians. Together, they have reached over 20,400 new families (102,000 individuals) with education on how solar products can save money, improve health and improve their family well-being.

Why train women in Nicaragua? Solar changes lives

TecAp is the first ever solar-based microfranchise in Nicaragua. It is also one of the first microfranchises worldwide combining two innovative types of micro franchisees: local youth micro-technicians trained in solar energy installation and women microfranchisees who promote the solar-based products, rooftop systems that youth install. By working together, these groups provide life-changing renewable energy access to off-the-grid rural areas that need it most.

Most people in Nicaragua live on less than $2.00 per day, limiting their ability to care for their families. 1.7 million people in Nicaragua live without energy and have no way of refrigerating food, pumping water, or completing school work after the sun goes down. Many families rely on kerosene lamps for light, which emit toxic fumes that can lead to serious respiratory illness.

TecAp addresses these needs.  With TecAp, low-income women join a non-profit social enterprise and are empowered to improve their neighbors’ lives. It has provided these women with a source of pride that they know about a new energy source and the first in their communities to share this with their neighbors.  Each of them has a sign with the TecAp logo, a catalog and sample products with which to go out and sell.

The grip of poverty is reduced

When women have access to energy it contributes to POVERTY REDUCTION. Energy access saves time, and reduces drudgery of fetching fuel wood and water, tasks typically women are responsible for. It reduces indoor air pollution levels and improves health. It improves education and gives time flexibility. Energy access creates new opportunities for income generating activities.

 

Karen’s Story of Success for her Family and Community

Karen Bonilla, 35, lives in Murra, a very small town squeezed into the mountains of Nicaragua. Before Karen began with TecAp, her only source of income was as a seamstress. She made dresses for special occasions. After going through our training to become a microentrepreneur, Karen started selling solar-powered products. Within the first two months of her training, she became very successful; selling solar powered products worth $2591.

With her earnings, Karen turned the front room in her house into a small store. And with more sales, she remodeled the room to make space for newer items like the first photocopying machine in her whole area. She has attained her dream of being self-sufficient, providing for her two daughters, supporting her mother and other family members

 

Will you support women to move out of poverty faster?

To date, IDEAS has trained over 85 women micro-franchisees, reaching over 20,400 new families (102,000 individuals) with education on how solar products could save them money, improve their health and improve their family well-being.

TecAp helps helped teams of women microfranchisees and youth solar technicians into new functional groups in 8 zones throughout our territory that is doubling in size.  This decentralized approach that is much less costly than a centralized administration and staff based in a city.

Click here to support the empowerment of women in business through the TecAp