May 13, 2015
Access to energy in Africa will play a significant role in disrupting the spiral of poverty and giving opportunity to millions of people, most of whom are women.
The Caterpillar Foundation’s support of the ONE Campaign’s advocacy work will help to encourage the U.S. government to create investment opportunities which would bring 50 million Africans power by 2020.
According to ONE, seven out of 10 people do not have access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. And, as the Caterpillar Foundation works to end the spiral of poverty for girls and women, so will this initiative. The lack of access to energy disproportionately affects girls and women.
“Often times in the developed world, we take for granted that we can flip a switch and there is electricity or that we can keep our food refrigerated,” said Caterpillar Foundation President Michele Sullivan. “But, there are moms in Africa who are giving birth in the dark. There are women who are cooking over an open flame with toxic smoke because they don’t have an electric stove. This investment will help educate people about these problems in Africa and help find a solution so families can end the cycle of poverty and create a better life.”
Sullivan recently signed a ONE petition addressed to German Chancellor Merkel and African Union Chairwoman Dlamini-Zuma, in which they ask for help to end poverty for girls and women in Africa. Today, Sullivan and many women around the world will take part in ONE’s Poverty is Sexist Day of Action by supporting the Strengthie hashtag (#Strengthie).
“The #Strengthie initiative is asking women to show their strength because women are the most affected by poverty. They’re affected by being uneducated; by being forced into marriage; by giving birth and possibly facing death or even by not being allowed to own the land she farms,” said Sullivan. “As president of the Caterpillar Foundation and as a woman, I’m proud to support this campaign.”