Women’s economic empowerment projects receive financial boost

Two projects in the ECOWAS region have been awarded with €20,000 each. These are the “Promotion of Anomena improved LPG stoves as a clean energy initiative for cooking”, by Anomena Ventures in Ghana, and the “Economic Empowerment of Bargny business women”, by Action Solidaire international in Senegal.
The project “Promotion of Anomena improved LPG stoves as a clean energy initiative for cooking” would lead to the establishment of a small-scale production facility for LPG stoves. The stoves would be manufactured by young women technicians, trained for the purpose. With its impressive awareness and sensitization program, and innovative business model, it is envisaged that the project would lead to a decline in the number of women street vendors using fuelwood for cooking by creating enabling conditions for switching to LPG. The target is 1000 women street vendors.
The “Economic Empowerment of Bargny business women” project would, simultaneously, lead to an improvement in the income levels, health conditions and overall welfare of women in the fishing community of Bargny. The project would lead to the installation of 13 clean and improved, medium sized furnaces that would significantly reduce the time spent on fish drying, while enhancing their market value. Through the capacity building component of this project, the local women would be imparted with the knowledge and skills to manufacture, use and maintain the furnaces. These local women, as the community technicians, would be responsible for ensuring the sustainability of the project and facilitating replications of similar projects. In addition to this, the local women would receive training on entrepreneurship skills development and financial management. These trainings would be tied to a micro-credit scheme that would improve women’s access to finances.
These projects were selected from a pool of projects submitted in response to the call for proposals launched under the pilot phase of ECOWAS Women’s Business Fund. The Fund aims to address barriers to women’s access to finance. Moreover, the through the Fund’s capacity building component, it is envisaged that women entrepreneurs would be equipped to market their business ideas and secure funding through the development of bankable business proposals.
The Fund is supported by the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADA) and Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).
The next call for proposals would be launched in the 3rd quarter of 2015. Prior to this, an online marketplace (at www.ecowgen.ecreee.org) would provide a platform where ideas on energy projects would be exchanged and refined, through the support of other registered network members. Moreover, project promoters would have access to information on what is needed to present an outstanding proposal.