::: poverty is sexist :::
Women bear the brunt of Africa’s infrastructure deficit. Both men and women are affected by poor infrastructure, but the lack of local energy and water infrastructure creates a more significant burden for women.
Women, as the primary caregivers in the home, are the ones responsible for collecting water, finding fuel wood, cooking on sub-par stoves, and working by toxic kerosene and paraffin lamps. These lamps are dim and expensive, create poor indoor air quality, and cause fires. Without electricity, household tasks are more laborious and much less efficient. Furthermore, women may spend up to 20 hours per week collecting water; this represents two full months of lost labor potential.
As a result, women are chronically time-poor. They are forced to make difficult decisions around seeking healthcare, earning an income, or attending to their children’s and their own education. Despite the innovations in clean energy and water, the cost is prohibitive for many rural families, making solar lamps, rain water tanks, and clean cook stoves out of reach.
Traditional micro-finance institutions are not equipped to deal with these issues or this population. They struggle in rural areas because of minimal community engagement, low trust, and high fees. Therefore, communities continue to be left out and marginalized.