Homemaker and Co-breadwinner – The story of Rabiat

In this first episode of Beyond Electrons, we will be sharing the story of a woman who is challenging the norm in her community and running a successful business.  

As we join the world in celebrating women today, Rabiat’s story comes to mind as a perfect one to share. First, to inspire other women in local communities that they can be more despite the societal limitations placed on them. Secondly, to showcase to our community of donors and partners the transformational impact of electricity access beyond electrons.

Despite the efforts around the world to ensure an equitable environment for all genders in society, rural women still remain at a disadvantage when compared to those who live in cities and urban areas. Sometimes, rural women will not participate in activities unless they receive ‘permission’ from their husbands. Typically in Northern Nigeria, women are still relegated to certain roles in the society like catering to domestic needs, performing their motherly roles. etc.

Rabiat is a woman who is challenging this norm. Living in an off-grid rural community, Rabiat is a mother of 2 children. Prior to the availability of reliable electricity in her community, her routine revolved around caring for her home, cooking and farming. Since 2018 when the store was connected to Havenhill’s mini-grid in their community in Abuja, Nigeria, her husband handed over at least 70% of the daily management of his grocery store to her. 

Rabiat, A User of Havenhill’s Mini-Grid in Abuja

Before the construction of the mini-grid in their community, there were no electrical appliances in the grocery store. Through the Havenhill appliance finance scheme – a scheme that allows our customers to purchase appliances while paying in instalments, Rabiat and her husband became beneficiaries and took ownership of a brand new chest freezer. The purchase of the freezer was a big push for their grocery store business. According to Rabiat, “This light and freezer dey really help us. Before, we no fit sell cold drinks but now, we dey sell am and business dey move”.

Beyond gaining access to a new appliance, with access to electricity, she now has a role as a co-breadwinner in the family, contributing to her family’s finances and experience in marketing and managing a small business. She does all this while still catering to the needs of her family contrary to popular beliefs. For societal advancement, it is important to re-examine the role of women in societies. If empowered, women can be strong economic agents, just like Rabiat. As we continue to operate in these local communities, we would continue to empower women like Rabiat. These little changes will help in changing the narrative across communities years down the line.

Rabiat’s story embodies our mission in host communities – to transform lives. We see electricity as a means to an end. For Rabiat, that end is being able to earn a living for her family and living a life devoid of limiting norms. Beyond Electrons, this is a true story of women empowerment at the grass-root level.

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