Lack of access to energy locks people into poverty. In Ethiopia, an estimated 40% of crops are lost after harvest because they spoil without access to refrigeration.
Without electricity, entrepreneurs can’t start or maintain profitable businesses and farmers struggle to irrigate fields or utilize labor-saving equipment. Little Sun works with agricultural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa to overcome these challenges.
Solar Powered Post Harvest Equipment
In Burkina Faso, we are piloting solar powered egg incubators so low-income farmers can increase hatching rates for baby chicks – dramatically boosting farmer incomes and adding to regional food security.
In Nigeria, we are working with a local partner to introduce solar powered rice milling to increase efficiency and profit for local producers.
In Senegal, we are piloting solar powered milling machines for post-harvest processing, with a local partner and a rural community group.
In Ethiopia, Little Sun has partnered with a local company, Solar Development, to decrease post-harvest waste with innovative solar powered cold storage solutions. Less food goes to waste – and more profits go into the pockets of small farmers.
Rice Milling and Cotton Spinning
In Ethiopia, we are working on implementing solar cotton processing and weaving in collaboration and support of Enat Weaving Work, a social enterprise creating producer-owned enterprises with an emphasis on women’s leadership. This will boost farmer profits and make solar powered equipment affordable by spreading the costs out over a collective of farmers.
Deploying small-scale, solar powered irrigation pumps in Ethiopia improves irrigation efficiency – increasing crop yields and profits. As a result, farmers can now harvest two to three times a year instead of once a year waiting for increasingly unreliable seasonal rain.
Using solar dryers to preserve agricultural products, such as mangoes and bananas, expands farmer income in Senegal.
Solar powered mobile phone charging, solar powered hair clippers, and solar lamp sales in Senegal and Ethiopia help to boost rural incomes through new enterprises.
Using mobile payment systems makes energy affordable and accessible to low-income consumers. Consumers pay for energy in small increments, as they use it. Little Sun’s Pay-As-You-Go initiative is currently operating in Zambia.
Solar to Empower Women
Vast gender inequalities in Africa are closely linked to poverty, instability, and energy access.
- In Africa, women and girls spend an average of two hours a day collecting wood and charcoal for fuel.
- Without access to light, women and girls are at more risk of sexual violence.
- In Sub-Saharan Africa, 27% of women are entrepreneurs, and between 60% and 80% of agricultural labor is done by women.
Giving women access to sustainable energy transforms women’s agricultural productivity, health, and wellbeing and reduces gender imbalance. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that if women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase farm yields by 20% to 30% and reduce the number of people living in hunger by 100 to 150 million.
Little Sun is working to make clean technology for agriculture available to women farmers across Africa to improve incomes, expand food security, and enhance gender equity.
In the Afar region of Ethiopia, we are working with women farmers to transport milk to a central depot that then supplies small hotels and restaurants with milk needed for their businesses.
Job Creation for Women
Little Sun works with a large network of women led solar tech distributors, entrepreneurs, and village savings and loans associations to train entrepreneurs in sales and distribution of solar technology.
We have trained and employed thousands of women in the countries in which we operate – giving them the chance to increase their income and pull their families out of poverty. In Ethiopia, we are working with our local partner, Solar Development and Care International.
To date, we have supported over 1,200 women to operate their own distribution businesses that include solar lamps, fortified foods, and fast-moving consumer goods.