Solar Sister eradicates energy poverty by empowering women with economic opportunity. Combining the breakthrough potential of solar technology and clean cookstoves with a women-led direct sales network, they bring light, hope and opportunity to even the most remote communities in rural Africa. Solar Sister creates sustainable businesses, powered by smart investment in women entrepreneurs. When you invest in a woman, you invest in the future.

Runtime: 02:51


Director:  Andrew Hida
Cinematographer: Andrew Hida
Editor: Andrew Hida
Narrator: Paloma Guzman
Scripting: Carolyn Lucey, Solar Sister
Additional Video: Michael Davie
Music: Al Stone, Michael Walton
Photography: Joanna Pinneo
Field Assistant and Translations: John Nyallu
Field Producer: Fatma Muzo, Solar Sister
Producer: Annie Griffiths, Ripple Effect Images


Client:  Solar Sister for Ripple Effect Images
Services Provided: Directing, Cinematography, Foreign Language Editing
Publication Date: April 26, 2016



Solar Sister is an American NGO working to eradicate energy poverty in East Africa by empowering women with economic opportunity. Founded on the guiding principle that women are the vital bridges connecting communities to clean energy technology, Solar Sister has developed a sisterhood of over 2000 entrepreneurs on the ground in three countries. More than 300,000 people have benefited from solar power and clean cookstoves, which have helped to increase gender equality, reduce exposure to toxic fumes and injury from open fires, protect the environment by reducing dependency on firewood, and expanding women’s economic opportunities. 


Solar Sister needed a compact video that illustrated their model and familiarizes their audience with their mission–essentially, a crash course on Solar Sister. Solar Sister wanted an upbeat and inspiring tone that focused on their mission and vision, and less on the issues. The video would be used to fill a critical gap in their communication strategy to introduce their organization to new donors, engage new audiences and increase conversion.


We invested a week in the field in Northern Tanzania with two entrepreneurs, Julieth Mollel in Arusha, and Fatma Hodari in Moshi. We expanded coverage of Solar Sister’s activities by incorporating footage from a prior shoot by Ripple Effect Images in Rwanda, featuring a third entrepreneur, Chantal Uwingabire. 

We constructed the narrative around Solar Sister’s simple motto: Light. Hope. Opportunity. These three principles guided the story and laid the framework within which to explore the mission, vision, and impact of Solar Sister’s unique business model.




© Joanna Pinneo, 2015