Inspired by sustainable development, motivated by an equitable future, and hopeful about renewable energy, Waringa Matindi is welcomed as the new CEO of Village Energy. Her passion for equitable development is driven by empowering marginalized groups, whether it be women and girls, or rural communities who lack electricity. She is a Gender and Development Expert, with over 13 years’ experience working with non-profits in East Africa. Let’s get to know her better:
Who is Waringa Matindi?
I’m Kenyan, and have been in Uganda for the last 3 years. From September 2015 to September 2018, I worked in Jinja-Uganda on women and girl’s empowerment and later early childhood development.
In Kenya, I worked for 10 years in gender and human rights. Up to now, I’ve worked in development.
What inspired you to come to Uganda?
At that point in time I needed a change. Having worked for MEGEN (Men for Gender Equality Now) a non-profit focused on gender equality and human rights for 10 years, the work with time, took a toll on me emotionally and mentally and I felt I needed a change.
The transition to Uganda was easy for me because was working in an organization that empowers women, while involving men and boys, similar in some ways to my previous job.
Having been a gender and Development expert for the last 13+ years, how do you think access to energy is related to gender equality?
In Africa, including Uganda – the face of poverty is women and girls. They suffer the most from negative health effects of some of the fuels used like paraffin, kerosene, and charcoal which affects their opportunity to earn a living and ability to enjoy education. When women and girls have access to clean and affordable energy, their health, education prospects etc. will improve, and they will be able to take advantage of the opportunities around them.
How does it feel like to be one of the few female CEOs for a solar energy company in East Africa?
One of the achievements in the Gender & Development sector is that there are many female CEOs and Executive Directors. It’s special for me because I have worked with, and been mentored by many female CEOs.
During my work in Jinja for example, both my CEOs were female and I know what I would love to emulate from them. My favourite female CEO is Wangu Kanja who runs the Wangu Kanja Foundation based in Nairobi.
What does Village Energy’s commitment to SDG 7 mean to you?
I saw a newspaper article today about a policy that is aiming at increasing electricity access in Uganda to 60% of the population by 2027.
What are your visions for Village Energy?
We need to improve our visibility in Uganda. I would like Village Energy to be a household name and to achieve this, we need to increase our visibility and market share. We have a fantastic product and my vision is for VE to become the leading productive use company in Uganda.
Have you had the chance to go out in the field and interact with the people?
Yes, I have been to our 5 hubs and had a chance to interact with the staff. In Arua, we visited one of our customers and got to hear testimonials of how impactful our system has been to them and the community. Some of the clients I interacted with even extended our service to other branches of their institutions.
Three months now at Village Energy! How has it been like?
It’s been interesting for sure, a lot of learning! VE has fantastic teachers, they understand so much about power, energy and gadgets. I am grateful for the generous staff members who are always ready to share knowledge.
Village Energy at 10!
I’m very excited! Few start-ups make it to 10 years. I believe Village Energy is one of the pioneer solar companies in Uganda and I’m honored to be part of this success story.
Last remarks to the Village Energy community.