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Clean Energy Social enterprise
Hetal Sheth11/9/22 4:03 AM2 min read

How can clean energy social enterprises boost their impact?

In 2017, 840 million people lacked access to electricity globally. In sub-Saharan Africa, only 44% of the population has access to electricity. The lack of electricity is a serious barrier to development. It has wide-ranging consequences for health, education, food security, income, poverty, and gender equality. This is why the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number seven is Affordable and Clean Energy. 

Clean Energy Social Enterprise

Energy One Africa is a social enterprise working to bring sustainable, off-grid, clean energy to farmers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their communities struggled with food insecurity, reliance on costly imports, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Energy One Africa provides solar-powered aquaponics to help fish and vegetable farmers build a sustainable livelihood.

To better understand their impact, Energy One Africa partnered with Sopact through the impact accelerator, the Miller Center. This is their impact measurement journey.

Read More: Accelerating Change for Social Enterprises: The Miller Center

Impact Data Challenges 

Energy One Africa had two key objectives:

  • Learn from data to maximize impact and raise capital
  • Allocate capital to the most impactful projects

Measuring and understanding your impact is all about communicating with your stakeholders. Outcomes and impacts are the benefits of the stakeholders' experience. Energy One Africa needed to understand the farmers. Were they successfully farming? Were they generating income, improving their livelihoods, and improving their communities?

The challenge for Energy One Africa was communicating with its stakeholders. The farmers were supported through the project for six months. After that, it wasn't easy to reach them. Most of the stakeholders didn’t have email and didn’t speak English.

Read More: How can social impact data be used to measure and manage the impact?


IMM Capacity Building

Through their partnership with Sopact, Energy One Africa was able to:

  • Develop an impact measurement and management strategy
  • Collect data from stakeholders
  • Consolidate their data in real-time dashboards

Impact strategy is a critical starting point for social enterprises like Energy One Africa. Having a Theory of Change helps to connect the dots between the programs' different parts. Energy One Africa uses new tools to overcome internet access and language challenges. They have the resources they need to design an effective impact report.

Clear Energy Outcomes

Energy One Africa is focused on understanding what their impact is and how to maximize it. Their work goes beyond SDG 7 and intersects with 1 No Poverty, 8 Decent Work, and 13 Climate Action. Now that they understand how their stakeholders benefit from their service, they can increase the volume. 

Access to electricity can have a transformative effect on families and communities. Particularly in the food security and livelihoods, they are building. Regarding funding, social impact investors and accelerators are looking for a significant impact. Energy One Africa now has the tools to demonstrate their work and make an even bigger impact. Funding will be more accessible as a result.

Read More: Can impact data improve our health and wellbeing?

Building Livelihoods with Clean Energy

Energy One Africa is bringing sustainable energy sources to Congolese aquaponic farmers. This greatly impacts income, food security, and community well-being. By understanding that impact, they can grow it. Learn more about Energy One Africa here. Visit our blog to learn more about Sopact’s work in economic development, or join an upcoming impact measurement webinar.

Photo by Energy One Africa


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Hetal Sheth

The founder of Ektta, and co-founder of SoPact, Hetal holds a deep passion for establishing enduring impact management practices in the social sector to have built-in learning and accountability.