Madame Ganigui Guera is the president of the Women’s Farming Collective in the village of Dunkassa, one of two villages in the Kalalé district in northern Benin where SELF designed and installed three of its Solar Market Gardens™ (SMGs). The innovative solar-powered drip irrigation systems have been operating for five years to help overcome the region’s six-month dry season by pumping water from an underground aquifer to irrigate fruit and vegetable crops.
Recently, Madame Guera ventured out of her homeland for the very first time to provide personal testimony about the positive impacts the SMGs have had on the lives of those living in Kalalé. She spoke in Olso at the “Energy for all: Financing access for the poor” conference, convened by the Norwegian government and the International Energy Agency (IEA). Never having seen an airport before, she made the trip alone, successfully navigating the Brussels airport to make a connecting flight to Oslo.
At the conference, she addressed a room full of international development experts, offering them a first-hand account of the transformative power of solar energy: “Before, we carried gourds on our heads to fetch water from the river, to get water by hand…Now we have a reservoir to water our garden. Before, we watered mornings and evenings, but now we water only one hour and it’s all done, even if it’s one single person watering. Solar energy saved us.”