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In today’s #Impactstory we would like to introduce you to Ramata Sou.

Economic empowerment through local women’s association

In cooperation with the local organization Bogojef – an association for women in business – Ramata runs a grocery store in Ndiob. Everything from rice, oil and vegetables to sweet treats and drinks can be found there. The women’s association, of which Ramata is chairwoman, has now been running the store for 5 years. The women take turns with the management: each woman is given the management for 3 months and has full responsibility for the direction of the store. Then there is a swap. 

Part of the income is given to other women of the association, who then have the opportunity to invest in their own business and thus enrich the village. 50 women are currently enrolled in the association and the cohesion among them is enormous:

Shop, Frauenverein
We were allowed to visit Ramata at home: on the picture she is preparing lunch with her family

"I am very happy to be the chairwoman of the association because it allows me to see and feel the potential of mutual empowerment every day. We women in particular know the same problems and challenges and should therefore support each other even more. I'm very glad we founded the association because it enables us to empower ourselves autonomously economically."

Ramata Sou

New opportunities through sustainable electricity

Currently, there is no electricity in the store. The women close the store already in the afternoon due to lack of light and also because it’s not so safe in the area once it gets dark. Ramata is hoping for some changes from Africa GreenTec’s electricity:

"First of all, I hope that this will allow us to keep the store open in the evenings and late into the night. Our store is located right in the center of the village, so it has the best prerequisites to become the center of village life. Young people could gather here in the evenings, drink, eat and have fun together. But since we don't have electricity, there is currently nothing going on here as soon as it gets dark, which I think is just a shame. Hopefully, with the electricity from Africa GreenTec, that will change."

Ramata Sou
Shop, Frauen
The electricity from Africa GreenTec will change things in N'diob

Furthermore, there is  a high demand for ice cream in the village. Cooled soft drinks and cold specialties, such as Sow (dessert), are very popular, especially during festivals and ceremonies. Unfortunately, there is currently no one who can meet this demand. People have to travel miles to get ice cream. Ramata wants to change this. With the electricity from Africa GreenTec, she would have the opportunity to operate a refrigerator in which she could chill not only ice cream, but also fish and meat, for example, and thus diversify her product range.

Economic upward spiral as a matter of course

These new opportunities would in turn generate more income for the store, which would mean that more money could be made available to the other women in the association, who could then reinvest more in new businesses. This would create an upward economic spiral in the village from which the entire community could benefit. When we ask Ramata at the end of the interview about the impact she has in the village through her store, she replies:

Shop, Frauenverein
Africa GreenTec's sustainable energy solutions make sense for agriculture in particular

"The store is the life of the town. If we weren't here, people would have to make the arduous journey to another village just to be able to cook something for their families. We provide people here with everyday food. I think we are indispensable for the village! As I said before, I am convinced that the store has a lot of untapped potential. We can revitalize the village even more with the power of Africa GreenTec. I'm looking forward to seeing that happen!"

Ramata Sou

The interview was conducted by Jan Moellmann and Anna Ndiaye in May 2021.

Hopefully, you’ll find out soon in a Follow Up article about all the changes for Ramata and the women’s association due to Africa GreenTec’s sustainable electricity!

We are pleased that the electrification of the village of Ndiob is supported by the Renewable Energy Solutions Program of the Export Initiative Energy of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as well as by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, by Wilo and AGT Help e.V.. With the support of our strong partners, we can achieve great things together.

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