Zambia

Little Sun empowers women in Zambia

May 2016

Girls and women all over the world are disporportionately affected by poverty. Lumwana, a mining town located in the Solwezi District, North-Western Province of Zambia, is no exception. Women remain marginalized with limited formal and informal power. Investing in women is crucial for long term economic and community development.

Alexandra Frank, founder of Best Foot Forward Consulting shares the impact of Little Sun on women in rural communities in Lumwana.

Best Foot Forward Consulting, distributors of Little Sun in Zambia, are working with Nsabo Yetu Federation, a Barrick Lumwana women’s empowerment program to promote the use of solar powered lamps in the chiefdoms of Matebo, Mukumbi and Mumena in Zambia’s Northwestern Province.

Nsabo Yetu (a KiKaonde phrase meaning our wealth) Federation, is comprised of 2,800 women from three chiefdoms, Mukumbi, Mumena, and Matebo, in Lumwana, Solwezi, who undergo financial literacy, savings and entrepreneurial skills development training. Twenty-three women had the opportunity to learn about how to turn Little Sun into a profitable business that can benefit everyone in the community.  The women then made use of part of their group savings to purchase a batch of Little Sun lamps to sell to local communities.

This project aims to provide sustainable and healthy light to off-grid communities while empowering the local women through local economic development. The profits from the sale of the Little Sun lamps will be used toward the Federation’s administrative costs as well as prop up their household income.

Winnie Kakunta, the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Officer of Barrick Lumwana explains, “Barrick Lumwana Mine promotes women’s participation in social and economic development by collaborating with various developmental partners to empower not only women entrepreneurs but MSMES at large. The Nsabo Yetu program was initiated to address low participation of women in business due to low literacy levels, limited access to financial services and cultural limitation that women in the area often face.  The program is aimed at developing female entrepreneurs through a Savings group methodology. The Little Sun project is contributing to a range of business opportunities for the participating women.”

I’ve been awestruck by the demand for small affordable sources of light — not just in off-grid communities, but also in well-connected areas, where electricity is not only expensive, but also unreliable. Little Sun is accessible to many people here in Zambia and provides an immediate and healthy fix to a major daily problem.

Women’s participation and leadership in business will be crucial to a cleaner, brighter future for many communities in Africa and throughout the world. Many thanks to Alexandra and the Best Foot Forward team for sharing Little Sun light.