To mobilize the women to lead the demand for increased access to clean energy products, RUWES created the ‘Gender Social Enterprise Model’, which aims to make access to energy easier and more cost effective for the rural woman, and change the attitude of rural dwellers to embrace new forms of safe energy. This is done through lowering market entry barriers in the clean energy sphere by working directly with manufacturers and distributors of clean energy products, financial institutions and government ministries, departments and agencies to ensure reliable, practical and affordable clean energy products are readily available to the rural poor. The intention of this is to mobilize the women to lead the demand for increased access to clean energy products by using these rural women to market the clean energy products.

RUWES works by identifying female-based Business membership organizations (BMOs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Faith Based Organizations (FBOs), Community Based Organizations (CBOs), and other related organizations [with a largely female based membership] whose activities dwell around the rural women/dwellers.

RUWES provide these organizations with access to clean cooking alternatives such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) stoves, improved clean cookstoves, solar lighting accessories and small Household Stand-alone solar solutions. These goods are given to the organizations collateral free, at a single digit interest rate, on a two-year repayment period to enable resale to rural dwellers on a flexible and long-term basis.

The female-based organizations act as market leaders and are expected to recruit more women [from rural areas] who will also benefit from the RUWES initiative, either by forming their own organizations and become retailers of clean energy products, or by undergoing training on assembly and maintenance of the clean energy products.

Looking into the future, RUWES is aiming at manufacturing clean energy technologies locally for cooking, heating and lighting solutions.

RUWES Gender Social Enterprise Model

  • Create awareness about the importance of clean energy
  • Skill acquisition training
  • Secure bank loan
  • Kit them with clean energy products and other marketing
  • Pre-agreed instalment payment
  • Marketing materials for consumers
  • Practitioners pay off bank loan
  • Replenish stock as goods are sold
We need women who are so strong they can be gentle, so educated they can be humble, so fierce they can be compassionate, so passionate they can be rational, and so discipline they can be free.

– Kavita Ramdas


The RUWES Initiative intends to enhance individual, government and private sector efforts to improve access to energy, empower women, protect environment and reduce SLCPs by:

  • creating awareness and sensitization campaigns in the rural communities on the need to reduce black carbon emission and adopt cleaner technologies via road walks, campaigns, symposiums, product demonstrations, etc.
  • reducing premature death rates due to black carbon inhalation while enhancing personal health and physical environment.
  • establishing viable markets and sustainable supply chain for improved and clean energy technologies.
  • creating sources of income and serving as a means of poverty alleviation by providing energy for homes and small businesses.
  • creating access to finance for rural business incubation and entrepreneurship.
  • improving Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) for rural women and their communities Providing of Climate Smart Agriculture technologies.
  • developing the capacity of the rural woman through skills acquisition and training. The RUWES training school serves as a platform for achieving this objective. At the training school selected illiterate and semi-literate rural women learn how to convert waste to fuel such as briquette and biogas for cooking and heating, as well as acquire skills on assembly, repairs, maintenance, sales and distribution of solar lanterns, clean cookstoves and other clean energy products.
  • establishment of a multidisciplinary leading centre of excellence in Black Carbon Testing, Conduct of cutting-edge research and development (R&D); and Skill acquisition or man-power trainings in the clean energy sector throughout the Sub-Saharan African region.
  • phasing out kerosene and oil lamps, and the traditional three-stone-fire in rural communities and position Nigeria as a reference point for renewable energy technologies;
  • providing 20 million clean cookstoves across the six-geopolitical zones in the country by the year 2020;
  • cultivating fast growing trees in the frontline States to combat desert encroachment and water scarcity
  • collaborative deployment of innovative low-cost phone-sensor based concentration measurement for black carbon emissions from cookstoves; and also, cookstove usage, with the aim of integrating these cookstove usage and quantity or type of emissions with the carbon market to enrich the underserved poor rural women and their households.
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