See Solar, Cook Solar


Young girls in Zambia reading with solar lighting

Young girls in Zambia reading with solar lighting


“Can you imagine finding time to earn your living if you had to spend hours every day collecting firewood?  Or how you would study with no electric light in the evening?  One quarter of the world’s population do not have reliable access to electricity; 70% of these are women and girls living in developing countries.

Soroptimist International President Ann Garvie 2013-15


Energy poverty is a significant barrier to women and girls’ education and empowerment in many parts of the world. Around 1.4 billion people have no access to electricity and a billion more only have access to unreliable electricity networks. About 3 billion people rely on solid fuels (traditional biomass and coal) to meet their basic needs.

Women are particularly affected because of their role in collecting fuel, cooking and other domestic work. Energy poverty forces them to spend hours a day on manual labour to prepare food or collecting firewood. It damages health, because of harmful smoke from cooking fires or by compromising health services. It hinders communication by internet or mobile phone, prevents women and girls from studying or working in the evenings, and places women at greater risk of violence in low-lit or darkened streets.

Soroptimist International President Ann Garvie selected the project ‘See Solar Cook Solar’ as the President’s Charity for her term of office. SI Chester’s events celebrated the fact that we are lucky to enjoy long summer evenings. We held a picnic and a BBQ at the home of our President Elect, raising £100.00 for the project.

Funds have benefitted women in remote rural and island locations in Fiji who have been provided with solar cookers which are a safer, more economical and environmentally sustainable alternative to traditional kerosene stoves. A second project in Zambia has supplied solar lanterns to schoolgirls giving them extended study time. Another project in Western Uganda provides solar panels and solar cookers to Musasa Primary School. The last project, announced in July 2015, supported Syrian girls and women in refugee camps in Turkey.

We are particularly enthusiastic about these projects not only because they Empower, Educate and Educate women and girls but also because they are mediated by local Soroptimist Clubs, which ensures that there is strong local governance.

Further information is available at: