Glenda Rodriguez, from Christian Aid Honduras, reports on how we are supporting women to establish successful sustainable energy enterprises
Previously shop owners, Ana and her colleagues have been part of the Breaking the Barriers programme from the beginning. Through this EU and supporter funded programme, they are supported to meet and negotiate with sustainable energy providers, develop business plans, receive technical training to install solar panels and develop financial models which mean that they can access finance.
‘We are aware that this is just the beginning. We are in a market where nobody knows us, so people do not know the quality of our product and services. Right now, we are working very hard to promote our business, and gain this space', Ana explains.
Despite the business being at an early stage, Ana and her co-owners have already started making extra money for their families.
The group is also pleased to know that they are supporting community development. Recently, they sold a photovoltaic system (a renewable energy technology, which transforms the energy from the sun into electricity) to a family in Santo Domingo, who previously had never had access to electricity.
Breaking the Barriers
Through an EU-funded programme, we are supporting women to create and own women-led sustainable energy enterprises in some of the poorest and most remote off-grid communities.
These groups receive training in sustainable energy products and technologies, business skills, and can access finance through savings and loans groups.
This 42-month project, which started in February 2018, is implemented in Burkina Faso, Malawi, Ethiopia, and Honduras.
It is estimated that over three million people will benefit from this project.
Breaking the Barriers in Honduras
To date, 195 women have been trained in business and investment plan development, attended technical workshops and exchange visits.
Agreements have been signed with micro-finance institutions and the women’s business groups have begun to access credit at a low interest rate.
20 groups, made up of 66 women are growing their sustainable energy businesses, like Ana and her colleagues.
Due to low levels of education, our partner OCDIH has worked hard to support women to understand business plans, and provide ways to challenge paternalism and machismo culture in their communities.