Sergina Loncle
Monday, October 12, 2015 - 14:06

By Sergina Loncle
Communications Manager

The Ford Foundation Provides New Support for Kopernik’s Wonder Women Eastern Indonesia Initiative

A new US$125,000 grant from the Ford Foundation will support the expansion of Kopernik’s Wonder Women Eastern Indonesia initiative, empowering women to become micro-social-entrepreneurs (MSEs). The 12-month Ford Foundation grant will directly benefit 250 MSEs trained by Kopernik to sell a range of simple clean energy technology.

Kopernik recruits women through partnerships with local organisations, and provides a comprehensive training program to increase their skills. The women can then start selling clean cook stoves, solar lights, and water filters, earning a margin from each sale, repaying the cost price of the technology to Kopernik, and replenishing their inventory. Through the Wonder Women Eastern Indonesia initiative, women increase their skills, confidence, income, and decision-making power, as well as their participation and influence in their communities.

The Ford Foundation’s support will help reduce energy poverty in eastern Indonesia, which affects women the most. Providing for a household’s cooking, drinking water and lighting needs is largely the responsibility of women in Indonesia. Women in rural Indonesia are burdened by the time it takes to collect cooking fuel, the time it takes to cook over inefficient traditional stoves, and the time it takes to boil water to make it safe to drink. Moreover, women and children are also exposed to excessive smoke when cooking over traditional stoves, triggering myriad health problems. And in rural Indonesia, night time activities are limited by access to electricity, which ranges from unreliable to non-existent.

Making simple clean energy technology available in remote villages has a huge impact on women’s lives: saving time and money, improving health and safety, and easing pressure on the environment. Empowering women to sell these technologies amplifies this impact - boosting women’s income in places where opportunities for women are extremely limited. Women selling to other women can increase technology sales and adoption rates, and also creates a wider social impact, as women reinvest up to 90% of their income into their families and communities.

Kopernik is proud to work with the Ford Foundation on the Wonder Women Eastern Indonesia initiative, helping to shift the view of women as victims of energy poverty, towards seeing women as vital actors in driving forward clean energy solutions. We believe that women, when empowered, are vital to facilitating energy access where it is needed the most.

Kopernik has been working since 2010 to connect simple technology with last mile communities to reduce poverty. Kopernik has distributed 59,000 units of technology to date, reaching more than 290,000 people in 23 countries. Since 2013, Kopernik has been building the MSE distribution model in Indonesia to deliver these innovative solutions. Kopernik currently works with 180 MSEs in eastern Indonesia, with ambitious scale-up plans over the next few years.