"What works" with Kopernik

January 17, 2018

In November 2017, Solar Sister travelled to Indonesia to visit Kopernik, an organization that shares our mission of launching women-driven clean energy businesses. Founded in 2010, Kopernik’s goal is to bridge the technology gap and reduce poverty in the last mile across Indonesia.

Both Solar Sister and Kopernik are key implementers of ENERGIA’s Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) initiative that has launched over 4,000 women entrepreneurs and distributed more than 570,000 clean energy products globally.

Learning what works

Kopernik’s motto is “Finding What Works” when it comes to tackling poverty in remote communities around the world and that is exactly what Solar Sister set out to do during our time there.

From observing a technology fair run by one of Kopernik’s Wonder Women on a remote island in Indonesia to sharing lessons in their Ubud headquarters about effective training and hiring practices, we spent a week learning from each other’s unique and overlapping experiences in the ENERGIA WEE programme.

One of the greatest takeaways was how critical data collection and management systems are for social enterprises. Strong monitoring and evaluation is at the heart of both programs and enables us to provide individual entrepreneurs with the support they need to grow their businesses. It ensures that as we pioneer new initiatives, incentives and trainings, we are testing and strengthening them based on real time feedback. It also allows us to build the evidence base for investing in women’s entrepreneurship in the last mile.

Solar Sister and Kopernik staff exchange learning and build relationships.

For both organizations, sharing our data and learning is critical so that others trying to reach the last mile, test new innovations and better support women-run businesses don’t have to start from scratch. For example, Kopernik produces a blog series called “Kopernik Insights” which shares findings based on its own primary data sources and field programs. They recently produced an article analyzing how spousal involvement can impact the success of a woman’s business.

Solar Sister has worked with some of the world’s leading research institutions to evaluate its model and the impact of clean energy driven opportunities on women and their customers. In 2017, Solar Sister released a report done by the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship which found that small-scale portable lanterns distributed by women entrepreneurs are having transformative impacts on households and businesses in rural Tanzania. Check out our Kopernik and Solar Sister websites for more information and insights!

Thank you to Kopernik for hosting Solar Sister during the exchange visit and for all that you do in the sector to support women’s empowerment. And thank you to ENERGIA for your generous support in making this visit happen.