Women In Sustainable Energy and Entrepreneurship (WISEe)
An estimated 600 million people across Africa do not have access to electricity according to the International Energy Agency, and in Kenya a large population has insufficient access to sustainable energy for cooking and lighting. Women in Sustainable Energy Entrepreneurship (WISEe) Cooperative believes that women are a key part of providing sustainable energy solutions through solar energy. Founded in 2015, WISEe is a worker cooperative that provides training and mentorship to women solar engineers in Kenya, to improve their entrepreneurship in Solar Photovoltaic Technology.
Women are underrepresented in the renewable energy sector, where they represent an average of 32% of the overall workforce according to the International Renewables Energy Agency (IRENA). Solar Photovoltaic technology can create jobs for women in installation, sales, and operations and maintenance. WISEe Cooperative is bridging the gender gap through providing hands-on installation training to women. Since the demand for Solar PV technical skills is on the rise due to the increased growth of the Kenya market – WISEe cooperative members are providing training and installation services and through this, they earn an income.
WISEe has 25 women members and provides a variety of ways to gain skills in Solar PV systems alongside their Empowered Entrepreneurship (EETP) Training. All members are trainers and consultants in solar PV system installation. WISEe has worked in Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Makueni and Migori Counties through Solar PV installation projects that serve all income households in these communities. Through the worker cooperative business model that is people centered, WISEe is putting money into members’ pockets by jumpstarting their solar installation entrepreneurship journeys and helping communities save money, that they would have spent on traditional lighting solutions that are often expensive in the long run. According to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2020 report, renewables such as solar are undercutting fossil fuels to become the world’s cheapest source of energy.
WISEe has received awards including: The Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) Energy Professional Development Award; Top 40 Under 40 Women Award; Women in Energy Awards, Kenya and Professional (Technical) Award.
Global Communities, through the USAID CLEAR Program has partnered with WISEe Cooperative to provide technical assistance and training in Strategic Business Planning, Gender Equity and Good Governance. (WisEe members installing a solar panel)