Neema Yahaya: Rising with Solar Power – An Entrepreneur’s Journey towards Sustainability

Kigoma-Nyanzele, Tanzania | #RenewableEnergyFinancing

At 26, Neema Yahaya stands tall as an emblem of determination in Kigoma-Nyanzele. Juggling roles as a mother of three and a small business owner, she shines a light on the transformative power of renewable energy, courtesy of the Tanzania Association of Microfinance Institutions (TAMFI) and TANERELA MFI.

Neema’s narrative is punctuated by milestones. A modest loan of 150,000 Tanzanian shillings enabled her to procure a solar panel, battery, and flashlight. This wasn’t just a transaction; it was a pivot away from the clutches of kerosene, which drained nearly TZS 60,000 monthly from her finances. For a business of her scale, this was a formidable drain on resources.

The post-loan epoch has seen Neema’s business trajectory defy gravity. Capital surged from Sh 70,000 to an impressive 280,000. But the luminance of solar energy wasn’t just a numerical boost; it radiated into her operational hours. Formerly wrapping up by 1900 hrs, she now caters to customers up to 2200 hrs, amplifying her income streams.

Neema underscores the power of reliable energy as an economic multiplier. The solar touch hasn’t just illuminated her space but also ignited her entrepreneurial spirit. With this reliable ally, efficiency is no longer a mere goal but a lived reality. Her business growth isn’t just a personal win; it’s a nudge towards community upliftment.

In her community’s mosaic of change, another woman stands out, her journey lit up by her pastor’s support. Like Neema, she too celebrates the dual power of solar energy and financial backing.

TAMFI and its cohorts emerge as heroes in Neema’s narrative, steering the community away from the quagmire of poverty. She envisions a Tanzania where tales like hers aren’t the exception but the norm. For this dream to materialize, she emphasizes the importance of educational outreach, spotlighting the potential of solar energy financing.

For Neema, the discourse on renewable energy isn’t just about kilowatts and panels. It’s intrinsically linked to sustainable development, a lifeline for a society teetering on the poverty line. Her clarion call is clear: she beckons the government and other entities to amplify their investments in renewable energy and back endeavours akin to TAMFI’s visionary projects.

In Neema’s words and work lies a vision for Tanzania: a land where renewable energy isn’t just a buzzword but a tangible tool to reshape destinies, one solar panel at a time.

This narrative is part of the “Energy Access: Building an Innovative Financial Ecosystem for Enterprises and End Users” initiative, spearheaded by TAMFI and championed by the C.S. Mott Foundation. This project underscores the significance of decentralized renewable energy, melding awareness with action, and engineering a financial ecosystem conducive for both individuals and enterprises in Tanzania.