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Social entrepreneur Habiba Ali shares fascinating insight on the health impacts of Kerosene-based cookstoves, and how she envisioned a solution to a uniquely gendered phenomenon.

Power to Empower: Habiba Ali Creates Resilience through Persistence


November 2020 – WE Empower Awardee, Global Ambassadors Program Alumna, VV GROW Fellow and Global Leadership Awards Honoree Habiba Ali is a social entrepreneur and founder of SOSAI renewable energies company, a Nigerian organization that empowers communities through renewable energy, technology, and advising services. Through the efforts SOSAI, sustainable technology is examined and created through a more accessible, human lens. In doing so, SOSAI’s work transcends socioeconomic barriers to create lasting ecological and economic development at the grassroots level. As part of our Power to Empower Podcast series, Habiba spoke with Vital Voices President and CEO, Alyse Nelson, about her quest to empower women through sustainable technology.

In their conversation, Habiba shares fascinating insight on the domestic use of Kerosene in rural Nigeria and the disproportionate impact it has on women’s health. Through her interactions with women who cooked in their homes and women who operated street-side food carts, Habiba began to envision a solution to a uniquely gendered phenomenon. In providing local women with electric lanterns, and later training them to operate other sustainable tech gadgets, Habiba would go on to prove that the sustainable tech industry can and should serve women–especially those of a lower socioeconomic status.

Habiba derives power from her voice, her humility, and her ability to be flexible. She supports that power comes from being able to work with people from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds and from varying positions of power. Finally, Habiba emphasizes the importance of perseverance as a form of power, leaving listeners with the humble advice of: “fail, learn, and do it again”.


This podcast series is inspired by the Vital Voices: 100 Women Using their Power to Empower – edited by Alyse Nelson with artwork by Gayle Kabaker and published by Assouline.


Listen to her episode here:


This post was written by Annalysse Mason.