Kenya: EnDev-Kenya Female Solar Gurus-A story of Resilience

EnDev-Kenya Female Solar Gurus-A story of Resilience, from an LME to permanent employment

By Evelyn Munihu

EnDev’s objective is to accelerate access to clean energy for the Kenyan rural population, in particular
through fuel-saving cook stoves and small solar systems. The EnDev Kenya Country Programme
(EnDev-K) started in 2006 and covers currently 20 counties in Western, Central and lower Eastern

EnDev-K’s main focus is on capacity development at various levels to ensure long-term sustainability.
Builders, installers and marketers are trained in technical, marketing and entrepreneurship skills. End
users and consumers are made aware of the benefits of the available technologies. Special awareness
creation is done for decision makers and other important stakeholders.
EnDev-K pursues a commercial approach. All economic activities such as stove production and
installation, or importation and assembly of solar systems, are undertaken by private sector actors.
Small entrepreneurs as well as medium size enterprises market their products on their own and are
fully responsible for product quality.

EnDev-K has established a strong network with local administrations and community-based
organizations’, thus increasing knowledge, experiences and resources. Linkages have been created
between financing institutions and small and medium-sized enterprises for the provision of loans
EnDev-Kenya supports access to modern lighting through promotion of high quality, affordable and
efficient small solar systems. These systems provide good quality lighting and convenient electrical
services such as mobile phone charging and powering of small radios/entertainment devices. The
systems are useful particularly in areas with limited or no access to grid electricity.
EnDev Kenya has promoted solar Pico PV systems since the year 2012 to accelerate access of rural
community to clean lighting. A story of resilience has evolved for some of the pioneer female
entrepreneurs who have scaled the heights rising from making 5sales a month to more than 200
sales a month and eventually some of them landing lucrative jobs in solar multinational companies.
Dozens are self-employed hence a reliable source of livelihood.
These are entrepreneurs who started with basic knowledge of two day technical induction training by
EnDev, some getting partial support from the Programme to attend T1/T2 training in Government
Technical Training colleges and being able to do simple installations of solar home systems of up to

Women solar LMEs have stood out. Self-drive has seen one Rose Angatia, a mother of two, go back
to earn herself a secondary school certificate. Rose dropped out of school at Form three due to
financial constraint, She became solar entrepreneur, has saved money, partially supported herself to
get T1/T2 certificate. Rose has been employed by Greenlight Planet on the strength of the trainings
she received from GIZ EnDev but now she has the quest to complete high school and get a certificate.
She is now sitting for her Kenya Certificate of Secondary School Education.
Meet Maureen Owiti, a young lady who until 2012, the only thing she knew to do was bartender. She
opened her own pub being a sole barmaid. Maureen was taken advantage of by men at an early age.
Hope beamed in her life when we introduced her to solar. Now a mother two, Maureen is employed
by greenlight planet, now able to take care of her children.

Philister Chizama is over 50years. She has been in solar business from the year 2012. She never
envisioned getting formal employment but with proper technical training form EnDev, she is now
employed. From sales made, Philister invested in farming and harvested over 100bags of maize
which is sufficient to meet her family needs and surplus for sale. In her own words, she says it is selfactualization for her.
Greenlight planet, one of our partners in solar, had very few lady sales managers. They trust our
recruitment and training processes and have since employed more than 20 of our Last mile
entrepreneurs, most of them ladies.
A story of resilience, self-drive, believing in themselves that women too can make it in a field
dominated my men. Our role is to give equal opportunity to all, encourage female gender to
participate in all trainings. For these young ladies, the sky is the limit. They are souring high as they
discover their potentials along the solar Value chain! 60 of them in Western Cluster and still counting
as more come on board.

As a programme, sustainability is key. Our main approaches include technical capacity building,
entrepreneurship and business skills trainings and linkages. Most of our entrepreneurs’ have now
formed self-help groups doing table banking for economic empowerment. In my Cluster of operation
two such groups include the Western Cluster Trainers Self Help Group and Patanisho Self-help Group.
These are two groups which have given the programme a lot of recognition in the community where
the programme is operating.