Access to electricity in rural Sierra Leone is scarce. Estimates on the proportion of households having regular access to electricity range from 1 to 5 percent. Along with mobile phones, which are now common even in settings where phone lines never reached, new energy technologies are beginning to fill in where traditional infrastructure is absent. Solar technologies hold promise for expanding access to electricity while offering sustainable alternatives to expensive, nonrenewable sources for powering lights, phones, tools, and appliances. Recognizing that there is important learning to be done in connecting adolescent girls’ clubs and solar technologies, the Population Council conducted a pilot project, starting in 2016, which sought to demonstrate that a girls’ safe space club could operate and maintain solar technologies with relatively minimal guidance, and to explore whether a solar charging hub could serve as a source of collective income and savings for girls’ club members. In addition, the Council provided insights on the potential of this activity to build girls’ social assets, such as cooperation and problem-solving, and the roles that important adults, such as NGO staff, mentors, and community members, should play.
Assad, Nadia and Sarah Blake. 2020. "Can adolescent girls’ safe space clubs effectively run solar-powered mobile phone charging stations in rural Sierra Leone?" Intentional Design: A Community of Practice. New York: Population Council.
Adolescent Girls' Programming: Community of Practice; GIRL Center