Gender, electrification and clean cooking
Across the world, women are less likely than men to have access to any form of electricity. In order to assess women’s needs and ensure a productive use of energy, electrification must be combined with clean cooking access and electrification of community facilities such as water supply, health facilities, schools and community centres. This has been found to be beneficial not just to women but to all stakeholders. There is a case for legislative actions : legislation should set clear targets for gender-responsive energy agendas, supported by appropriate levels of investment. Above all, the post-COVID-19 recovery packages represent an opportunity to include women in sustainable energy.
Solar-powered agricultural cold storage for farmers
According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), 30-40% of food produced in Africa is wasted before reaching the markets due to a lack of cold storage facilities. Start-ups such as FreshBox, Ecolife, ColdHubs, and Ecozen Solutions are implementing innovative business models to provide solar-powered cold storage to farms. ColdHubs in Nigeria is installing walk-in cold stations to store agricultural produce before it can be taken to markets. The units can store up to three tons of food at temperatures between 12 °C and 16 °C and are usually operated by local women. Energy for the cold storage units is supplied by overhead solar panels. Farmers have to pay a fixed amount per crate of produce stored. The initiative also provides refrigerated transport to markets.