Kenya’s Maasai women jump-start Africa’s solar revolution

As a result of work undertaken by the Women and Entrepreneurship in Renewable Energy Project (WEREP), an initiative by Green Energy Africa, a large group of Maasai women trained in solar panel installation is now able to bring reliable power to the people of Magadi, a village in Kenya’s Kajiado County.
The group of about 200 women are making headlines for ushering in solar transformation to somewhat inaccessible destinations, by acquiring skills, buying discounted solar products from renewable energy developer Green Energy Africa and illuminating the lives of their communities and families.
The women – who also use simple, available means which include donkeys – have been applauded by people across Africa for rising to the occasion, solving societal problems and showing that women are also capable of entering the male dominated world of science and technology.
“South Africa and Africa at large are struggling with the challenges of renewable energy, shocking unemployment figures, lack of sustainable youth development and many problems. Our society, faith and culture have made a woman not to be viewed as a 360 degree type of thing…
These Maasai women have started a solar revolution for the people of Africa. They are exemplary and disprove wrong misconceptions,” said Nawaal Nolwazi Mdluli, Founding Editor of Essays of Africa, a women orientated lifestyle magazine that celebrates exceptional African women’s journeys.
According to Mdluli, women are able to come up with complex solutions and as individuals and businesses, the question that should be asked is what can be done to build on the steps taken by women such as these solar revolutionaries.
“The question we must all ask is what can I do? How can I find these women to do in South Africa what they have done in Kenya? How can I get involved? All it needs is balls, boobs and brains because women are the only 360-degree species that can give life, carry life and give birth without being crippled by pain, but go on to nurture that life,” continued Mdluli.
According to Mdluli, who is also the CEO of Kwenta Media, women bury, dig graves, carry guns, build houses, walk in mine trenches and can pretty much do anything. There is only one thing, she asserts, that is lacking in women:
“The only thing I don’t have that a man does is sperm – and I can go buy it and put it inside of me and make a baby. Even if a man were to buy my egg, can he put in inside of his body and do that? Give anything to a woman. These women must be celebrated and used as banners to light up Africa and other women,” said Mdluli.
Agreeing with the notion that the advancement of women could indeed help communities and that more spotlight needs to be given to such initiatives was Kelley Boss, Kenyan Journalist News Anchor and former Radio Host.
“Yes, Kenyan women can help better the other parts of Africa, particularly with so many trading blocks in place. It is easier for women in Kenya to link with others to share ideas and network across Africa,” elaborated Boss.
Boss affirms that it is no longer a rare act to see African women entering formerly male dominated science and technology platform because society is starting to recognize the values of gender equality. Employers, corporate and government no longer judge your gender, but ability.
“The evolving roles of African women is not an isolated case for Kenya only because we now have female presidents in Africa. A lot more can and must be done to honor leading women. For example, I was brought up in Kitale, a small town in Kenya where electricity was a story for many years. Despite the shortcomings, my mom encouraged me to work hard,” said Boss while reiterating the significant role that women play in Kenyan society and across Africa.
“I still visit Magadi, Kakamega to Kisumu [where electricity is scarce] and try and tell their story so that someone can come to their rescue, but all in all the saying is true: ‘empower a woman and feed a society’. Even though progress is minimal, it is encouraging to see that society is beginning to take note of the importance of educating the girl child,” concludes Boss.



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