Building an efficient solar drying technology for women farmers’ economic empowerment

Description of the project: WEP has built a pilot solar dryer tent in Adogo village, Nigeria. The main objective of this innovative equipment if to improve the drying process of agricultural and sea products such as pepper, tomatoes, fish etc. through a healthier and controlled method. The pilot dryer responds to the specific needs of poor farmers – mostly women. The initiative promotes entrepreneurship and women’s economic empowerment, increases access to food and resources, and boosts commercial activities. It also improves hygiene and health, since the produce are dried in a controlled environment preventing contaminations by pests. It avoids spoilage of farm produce and has reduced the labour burden for women.

Climate impact: The use of the solar tent helps rural farmers adapt to climate impacts and increases their resilience through a more regular provision of food in the year. Protected by the tent, agricultural products can be dried even under unpredictable weather conditions occasioned by climate change. This equipment enables farmers to preserve vegetables, fruits and plants even under damp conditions. At least 4 tonnes of perishable agricultural products can be dried and stored at a time. The solar technology reduces the use of firewood to smoke fish, thus cutting CO2 emissions.

Gender impact: The solar dryer tent is a closed, secured equipment that saves a significant amount of time for women when drying farm produce, as they no longer need to guard the products and chase animals away. This created new economic opportunities, improved livelihoods, health, and safety. WEP has trained 30 women farmers on solar installation and entrepreneurship. Dried produce are sold with a good value added, generating additional income for families. The women have taken the responsibility of managing the project.

Scalability/replicability: WEP intends to replicate this pilot initiative in many rural communities in Nigeria and other African countries, based on performance tests and a construction model using locally sourced materials. Trainings will be organized on solar tent construction and the packaging of dried products as well as sales strategies. In line with the objectives of the national Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, WEP will collaborate with the government to develop the solar drying technology and reduce post-harvest wastage in several regions.

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Advocacy for the implementation of the UNFCCC gender action plan (GAP)

Description of the project: This project was implemented in the Oyo, Ogun and Lagos states. It raised awareness and capacity of relevant policy makers, ministries, departments and agencies as well as local women’s organizations on integrating gender equality and women’s empowerment in climate policies. It also advocated for the full and equal participation of women in climate actions. Awareness raising meetings with local women were further used as a platform to conduct “Talanoa Dialogues”, where they freely shared their stories of climate struggles and offered solutions that can shape global policies to raise ambition in reaching the 1.5 degree temperature limit.

Climate impact: The interactions among heads of climate relevant sectors such as energy, environment and women affairs at the trainings has opened up an avenue for integrated and common agenda approach to addressing climate change issues across the Nigerian states. Civil society organizations are acting as pressure groups in the implementation of the Gender Action Plan using online media to expand their outreach and accelerate the process.

Gender impact: The importance of mainstreaming gender and women’s equal participation in climate change policies has been recognized in the current review of the Lagos state climate plan. The project has helped to strengthen gender responsive provisions n policy making and in practical implementation through integrating gender into Lagos state climate scenario building workshop, with action being undertaken both on and offline.

Scalability / replicability: The project has attracted subnational level government in Lagos state, with plans to train officers of relevant departments, community development associations and community based women’s groups on gender and climate change, GAP and how it can be implemented in the local governments. This clearly indicates that the project is scalable especially at the subnational and community levels where the impacts of climate change are being felt most.

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Solar Sister eradicates energy poverty by empowering women with economic opportunity

Description of the project: Solar Sister combines the breakthrough potential of clean energy technology with a deliberately woman-centered direct sales network to bring light, hope and opportunity to even the most remote communities in rural Africa. Solar Sister eradicates energy poverty through empowering women with economic opportunity and we promote women‘s leadership to build a brighter future. Investing in women is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do. Solar Sister creates sustainable businesses, powered by smart investments in women entrepreneurs.

Climate Impact: Solar Sister is increasing access to solar and clean cooking technologies. Solar lamps replace kerosene, which produce toxic fumes, black carbon, and increase risk of burns. More efficient cook stoves reduce fuel use by 30-60%, resulting in fewer greenhouse gas and black carbon emissions and reducing impacts on forests, habitats, and biodiversity.

Gender Impact: Solar Sister is a women-led social enterprise working at the forefront of women‘s leadership for gender just climate action. Since 2010, Solar Sister has built a thriving network of 2000 women entrepreneurs who have brought clean energy access to over 350 000 people across Sub-Saharan Africa. Solar Sister‘s CEO is a women, over 86% of the staff and over 57% of our board are women. We are showing that women‘s leadership is needed at all levels for lasting change. Solar Sister entrepreneurs are farmers, nurses, school teachers, basket weavers, community mobilizers – all making the world brighter and better!

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Women building and using clean cook stoves and planting a Great Green Wall on over 1500 km

Description of the project: Nigeria’s Great Green Wall Project aims to address the negative social, economic and environmental impacts of land degradation and desertification in Northern Nigeria. Over 110 women in 11 states (Adamawa, Sokoto, Katsina, Gombe, Kano, Borno, Yobe, Kebbi, Bauchi, Jigawa and Zamfara) have been trained on constructing 1500 energy efficient cook stoves from local materials to reduce the burning of biomass and the degradation of vegetation. Women’s capacities are also built on creating alternative sources of income, so as to raise their economic autonomy.

Climate Impact: The use of energy efficient cook stoves reduces fuel wood consumption – and CO2 emissions – of households by 80%, thus significantly reducing deforestation. This project additionally foresees the replantation by the governement of different species of trees on a territory – the “Great Green Wall“ – that will be about 1,500 km long (East-West) and 2 km wide (North-South), in the 11 states faced with the highest desertification rate in Nigeria.

Gender Impact: Women are crucial for adopting green technologies for their household and spreading good practices within their communities. This initiative empowered them with important new technical skills, and new leadership roles in their villages, as they actively contribute to mitigating climate change and fighting desertification. The project significantly reduces women’s unpaid labor burden, creating opportunities for revenue generating activities. Finally, it improves their health by reducing indoor air pollution.

Scalability /replicability: WEP has developed a technical training module that can be easily replicated. Using local materials also ensures an affordable upscaling of the program. WEP intends to extended this concept in the coming years to the Middle Belt and South Nigeria, where climate change is severely impacting the livelihood of people, especially women, who often risk their lives when going long distances to get fuel wood. The program could be expanded to many other similar regions in Africa and to other continents.

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