Innovation That Matters

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Clean cooking and female empowerment in Sierra Leone 


This social enterprise was started to promote gender equality and energy access with its green cookstoves

Spotted: Women in Sierra Leone face continuing marginalisation across the country’s labour force, with the percentage of women in employment falling from almost 51 per cent in 2003 to just over 48 per cent in 2022. The roles women hold are also typically lower level and lower paid than the positions occupied by most men. However, one innovator is hoping to change that. 

After witnessing the energy challenges faced by communities in Sierra Leone, particularly women, and recognising the social, economic, and environmental impacts of these challenges, Margaret Mansaray was motivated to find a sustainable solution that could improve lives and contribute to a greener future. To do so, she founded Women in Energy Sierra Leone. Not only does the social enterprise offer clean and sustainable fuels and cooking technologies, but it also empowers local communities by creating entrepreneurial and employment opportunities for women. 

Many households rely on inefficient and highly polluting cookstoves, fuelled by kerosene, biomass, and coal, but Women in Energy has created Smart Green Stoves and Smart Green Briquettes as eco-friendly alternatives – both of which are made from recycled local materials and waste organic materials. As well as being nearly smokeless, drastically reducing the respiratory problems caused by traditional cookstoves, the Smart Green Stove also requires less fuel. The Stove is also more efficient, meaning meals are cooked more quickly and those who currently spend lots of time making food – most often women – can spend more time elsewhere.

The company plans to expand its product range to include even more efficient and environmentally friendly energy solutions. It also aims to strengthen its partnerships with local communities, government agencies, and international organisations to scale the impact and reach more households. Women in Energy is also exploring opportunities to export solutions to neighbouring countries facing similar energy challenges. 

It is no secret that women worldwide face many challenges, but Springwise has spotted many innovations looking to uplift women and promote gender equality. For example, in the archive, there is an app that offers savings products, grants, and information to Africa’s female entrepreneurs, and a programme that combines the traditional knowledge of indigenous women with technical training to protect ecosystems.

Written By: Anam Alam




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