In the Kalalé District of Benin in West Africa, a six-month dry season made it difficult for women farmers to grow food year-round. As a result, community members suffered from hunger and malnutrition. When SELF was approached for assistance, we introduced the Solar Market Garden (SMG) concept.  The SMG combines solar water pumps with drip irrigation to consistently water crops—creating a safety net for the dry season and reducing environmental and health vulnerability in the community.

In turn, residents are experiencing the transformative power of this simple and effective solar technology.   Food security in the villages has increased, improving nutrition and health. Four hundred women farmers are now income earners, as a result of selling surplus produce at the market. They can now pay for their children’s education and health care.  Where they formerly had little influence, they have raised their status in the community and are regarded as successful farmers and savvy entrepreneurs who now bring food to more than 66,000 individuals.

SELF was awarded the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat’s “Momentum for Change 2015 Lighthouse Activities” Award at the Paris Climate Summit in December, 2015.  SELF was one of 16 organizations selected in this prestigious competition.  It recognizes some of the most innovative, scalable and replicable examples of what people are doing to address climate change.

To learn more about the SMG program, watch this video produced by Momentum for Change. - Powering a brighter 21st century.

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Since 1990, SELF has completed projects in more than 25 countries and pioneered unique applications of solar power such as for drip irrigation in Benin, health care in Haiti, telemedicine in the Amazon rain forest, online learning in South Africa and microenterprise development in Nigeria.

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