Promoting Opportunities for Women Through MoPo
In 2016 we partnered with Mobile Power Ltd. to improve access to clean and affordable energy in Sierra Leone. Our goal is to help improve livelihoods, reduce carbon emissions, promote gender inclusion, and improve health in off-grid communities. We are excited to celebrate two women whose lives have been greatly impacted by Mobile Power. Read their stories of change below!
Mobile Power’s product “MoPo,” was just an idea “born in The Gambia, built in Europe, [and] deployed in West Africa.” Essentially, MoPo works as a battery rental system that does not require a traditional power-grid in order to operate.
Here’s how it all works:
First, a solar station was built to charge smart batteries. After community members select their MoPo Agents, and they are trained, the agents rent out the batteries to their local community. Renters pay for battery use through a mobile app and can exchange their empty batteries at any time. Once they turn in a battery, it returns to the solar station, continuing the cycle.
Batteries can charge up to 8 smartphones, 12 button phones, light the MoPo lightbulb, play a 12-inch Plasma TV, run the MoPo fan, and power a Bluetooth speaker. MoPo batteries can even be used to run an LED light for 24 hours.
It is important for us that female community members find equal opportunity in all our initiatives. This is why a World Hope International (WHI) Gender Inclusion Officer works closely with MoPo and the local community involved with MoPo. The officer focuses on helping to train the community on gender inclusion and the importance of selecting women MoPo Agents. After the community selects them, the agents attend training sessions on running a MoPo distribution business and general entrepreneurial skills.
We are deeply gratified to hear the impact that MoPo has had on the lives of two women agents in particular.
One MoPo Agent was excited to share with us how working as an agent has given her the skills and ability to expand her business. After renting out MoPo Batteries for a while, she began to notice that people congregated in the area of town where her rental shop was located. They sat and rested there after they exchanged their MoPo Batteries. She noticed that there was an opening in the market–no one was selling them cold drinks!
With the knowledge and skills gained from trainings offered through WHI, she decided to use some of her savings to start a second business selling cold drinks, water, and ice. Her goal is to have two sources of income so she can continue to add to her savings while not relying on only one source of income.
Another woman agent was excited to share with us how Mobile Power has changed her life in a big way. She believed it provided opportunities that did not seem possible before she became a MoPo Agent. When she was young, she was on track to matriculate from high school and attend university. However, due to financial difficulty she had to abruptly end her education. The only option she felt she had left was to get married and become a wife and mother.
After living through some difficult years, she was selected to be a MoPo Agent. She poured her heart into her new work while still prioritizing her family. This hard work and dedication lead to her recently expanding her MoPo business to include multiple family members–and that’s just the start.
“I’ve been enrolled into the university with the savings I made out of the money I earned…from my daily rentals,” she excitedly shared with us. We celebrate with her this huge achievement, and we are humbled to have played a small part in this success!