When a woman is emPOWERed,
the whole community
Murang’a County is highly agricultural society. Although women hold 80% of the jobs in agriculture, only a small percentage of them hold title deeds to land or own businesses. The high unemployment (18%) and high share of people living under the poverty threshold (25%) primarily impacts youth & women.
A recent study by Energia (2019) shares empirical evidence of how access to electricity is often gendered, mostly profiting men if there are no supporting structures in place. This is even more the case when electricity is provided by on-grid services because men typically hold most decision power in the household, have higher income, own fixed assets as land and houses and therefore mostly decide the extent to which electricity is used for productive purposes.
We believe that economic development & women empowerment in Murang’a can be significantly boosted by creating an enabling environment for women to benefit from the potential of electricity to increase their quality of life and income.
That is why Magiro Power, Hydrobox and NETFUND have joined forces to develop the project "EmPOWERing youth female entrepreneurship in Murang'a County"
From a survey conducted by NETFUND in 2019, the following challenges were cited most often as challenges for women led businesses:
Low income due to low position on the value chain & high cost of living expenses such as food & school fees for the children
Lack of capital or access to finance to buy equipment to start or bring their agricultural business higher up in the value chain
Costly & unreliable electricity from the national grid:
High connection fee: costing up to 7 monthly incomes
Varying billed amounts: leading to cash flow stress
Complicated fee structures: leading to distrust
Frequent power outages: leading to reduced operating capacity and income
Lack of knowledge & training on how to start a business higher up in the value chain
The project seeks to leverage electricity to improve living & working conditions as well as in income for youth & women in Murang’a county through:
Easy, affordable and customised ACCESS TO ELECTRICITY & tailor-made ELECTRICITY SERVICES (cooling service, appliance leasing, ...)
An enabling BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT for new businesses & to create more value in existing businesses: access to finance, technical/business support & coaching, access to markets
Working through existing SOCIAL STRUCTURES (commodity organisations, women saccos) to provide integrated solutions (access to power, access to finance & markets, technical & business skills), to have maximum impact and bring about more equal benefits of access to electricity
EmPOWERing youth & female entrepreneurship approach:
Combining ACCESS TO ELECTRICITY & customised ELECTRICITY SERVICES
Providing an ENABLING BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT for women led businesses
Deployment through proven EXISTING SOCIAL STRUCTURES
HOW WE DO IT
How we support
Affordable access to electricity by Magiro Power
for a fixed amount per month & credit on connection cost
Appliance leasing offered by Magiro Power to female entrepreneurs wishing to start or scale up a business using electrical appliances
Business coaching provided by NETFUND including business plan development, access to technical & business expertise
Access to finance by linkage to UWEZO Fund through NETFUND, allowing seed funding up to 5.000 USD
Today, Magiro Power and NETFUND have started an initial pilot project which we are looking to expand with grant support.
How Electricity potentially impacts Women's lives
Access to electricity ensures that the roads are well lit and therefore it is safer to move around early in the morning and in the evening.
With access to electricity, children are able to study in proper lighting, some of these children being the “girl child” who in return are able to acquire read and writing skills that will later help the families at household levels and also the community at large.
Access to electricity without land ownership titles or collateral allows women to develop or participate in income generating activities by using electricity. Their can operate the whole and even past sun-down owing to the availability of reliable electricity to light up and power their businesses.
Rural families typically spend a lot on kerosene to light up their homes & businesses. This is very expensive & unhealthy. Magiro's fixed rate model allows them to use clean energy, save considerably and regain control of their budget by knowing exactly what they will spend on energy.
The use of electrical appliances avoids labour intensive work which takes a lot of time such as fetching firewood, water or animal feeds. Appliances such as cookers, water pumps and chaff cutters make work at household levels move with speed freeing up time for alternative activities.
Increased efficiency of household work
The use of this electrical appliances such as cookers, water pumps or chaff cutters allows women to get more done with less time & effort.
The time that becomes available can be used to spend with family or to generated additional income.
Case studies - access to electricity & finance for appliances
Maramu Hotel - Deep frier to sell snacks
Catherine is the proprietor of a small hotel in Gikoe centre, who was initially connected to the national grid but later switched to Magiro Power. She states that the connection to the national grid soon became too expensive for her to operate any appliances. Frequent power outages also affected her business.
The switch to Magiro Power enabled her to better manage her power bills and lower her operating costs because of the fixed fee. She was also able to save up to get some basic cooking and food warming appliances – an electric deep fryer.
This enabled her to diversify her food offering to include fried foods, further increasing her income. She wishes to get further financing to enable her to set up her own shop and further diversify her product offering to increase her income.
Humble Agency Ltd – Electric cooker to sell meals
The enterprising proprietor of Humble Agency runs a kiosk selling fast moving consumer goods, groceries as well as offering hair dressing services. She maintains her connection to the national grid but prefers to use Magiro Power to power her salon equipment as well as provide lighting.
She also wishes to acquire an electric cooker to further expand her business and provide prepared meals to labourers working in the region.
Hope Self Help Group - Incubation of eggs
Hope self help group, represented by Michelle Njeri, is a youth group of predominantly women. The group has 10 members and they work together to raise funds for projects to help them increase their income together. The members give monthly contributions which are channeled towards agreed projects.
The group has developed a business plan to acquire an egg incubator with the purpose to sell chicks as an additional income stream and responding to the demand for quality chicken meet in the area.
Case study - electricity to get higher up in the value chain
Sweet & dried - Mango Flakes Production
Agriculture is identified as one of the economic drivers of Kenya’s Vision 2030, however, productivity across the subsectors continues to face challenges such as high post-harvest losses, climate change and inadequate markets among others.
National Environment Trust Fund (NETFUND) supports agri-businesses initiatives that encourage sustainable farming practices and contribute to food security while combating climate change.
NETFUND assessed post-harvest losses in two counties Kitui and Tharaka Nithi and identified that small scale farmers experienced immense post-harvest losses of fruits, vegetables and root crops. They developed an innovative approach and unique model that focuses on adding value to agro-produce through solar drying and electric drying of fruits and vegetables.
With the financial and technical support from NETFUND, the enterprise focussed on drying mangoes where at small scale, lost nearly half their produce as a result of post-harvest losses.
The entrepreneur managed to set up solar driers for initial stage of drying mango flakes and acquired two electric driers for last stage of drying. This rural based mini factory has created employment for 50 locals and providing assured market for 500 farmers.
This innovative technology has increased the self-life of farmers’ produce and annually processing over 200 tons of mangoes. Sweet and Dried Enterprise has secured international markets and exports mango flakes to Japan besides supplying to local outlets, retails and bulk buyers in Kenya.