Enhancing Water and Food Security

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, resulting in 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.

This simple and effective solar technology had a huge impact. Food security in the villages 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. They have also gained more influence in their communities, 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, which recognizes some of the most innovative, scalable, and replicable examples of how we can address climate change.

To learn more about the SMG program, watch this video produced by Momentum for Change.


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SELF is a global leader in the fight against energy poverty. Since 1990, we’ve pioneered unique applications for solar energy, powering progress on food security, health care, education, gender equity, and more. 

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