About 400 women in rural Tanzania and Kenya are set to benefit from the United States of America Department of State funds designed to boost women’s involvement in the renewable energy value chain in the region.

The funds awarded to Energy 4 Impact, a non-profit organisation that supports local businesses provide energy access to off-grid communities in Africa, will implement the two-year programme.

According to the media statement issued this week in Dar es Salaam the programme will provide business and technology training and mentorship, and support for the group to access financing and market opportunities.

Energy 4 Impact Programme Manager Godfrey Sanga said the programme was part of the Partnership on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Renewables (wPOWER) launched by the US Department of State in January 2013 to empower women clean energy entrepreneurs across East Africa, Nigeria and India to deliver clean energy access.

The new programme will collaborate with wPOWER to mitigate climate change by reducing carbon emissions and the degradation of natural resources from the use of dirty cooking and lighting fuels including firewood and kerosene. The initiative is expected to provide 396,000 people with access to clean cooking and solar lighting products in Kenya and Tanzania, and create 400 jobs.

In Tanzania the programme will be implemented in the Lake Zone Regions and in 25 counties in Kenya, namely; Kisumu, Kisii, Homa Bay, Siaya, Migori, Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma, Busia, Kiambu, Muranga, Nyeri, Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Taita Taveta, Nakuru, Eldoret, Nandi, Bomet, Narok, Kericho, Machakos, Meru and Embu.

“We will leverage our experience and resources in the two countries to strengthen the capacity of some of our existing clients, with a view to expanding their product range and enabling them to diversify their revenues,” says Energy 4 Impact Programme Manager Mr Sanga. In addition, Energy 4 Impact will also work with wPOWER Partners in order to support the expansion of the wPOWER network of women clean energy entrepreneurs.