Solar Sister Research Trip
Organized by: August Granath
THIS IS TIME SENSITIVE: This trip has only become possible recently and we need to raise the money as soon as possible seeing as we will have to leave in one month. Last minute flights are more expensive than we have money budgeted for.
August Granath, Aishwarya Bhadouria and Marie Michl are rising second year Honors students at Northeastern University embarking on an exciting and unique opportunity to conduct high-level research investigating important questions for a social enterprise working in Sub-Saharan Africa. Solar Sister, a registered US non-profit organization, has invited us to join their research team to explore questions of social capital and entrepreneurship as part of their organizational social impact assessment being conducted this summer with assistance from the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). We have developed research questions and a methodology and hope to travel to Tanzania to join their efforts in qualitative data collection. We have applied for funding from our university, but we need additional funds in order to make this project happen.
Our connection with Solar Sister began last fall when we had the opportunity to take an Honors course entitled Global Social Entrepreneurship with Professor Sara Minard who recently joined Northeastern last fall from Columbia University. We chose and advocated for Solar Sister in a competition sponsored by the Social Enterprise Institute and won $10,000 in grant funding for the organization.
After awarding the grant in April, we the student team, along with Professor Minard, have met with Solar Sister’s founder and CEO, Katherine Lucey, and their Director of Engagement, Caroline Mailloux, to discuss deepening the social enterprise-student collaboration. Solar Sister’s mission is to eradicate challenges surrounding energy by empowering women with economic opportunity. They believe they can attribute their steady successes to their trainings that leverage women’s strong community base and by helping women to unleash their entrepreneurial skills. Solar Sister is now exploring the degree to which the training of its women social entrepreneurs is creating different types of positive social impact and social capital. We are delighted to be able to collaborate with Solar Sister as researchers, under the guidance of Professor Minard, an expert in social entrepreneurship for development at D'Amore McKim School of Business and the Social Enterprise Institute, to collect data in the field for eight days and contribute to the organization’s own critical research efforts.
We have calculated our trip expenses taking into account possible funding from the university as well as in-kind expenses from Solar Sister. What we have left to cover is $7,000 for flights, lodging, visas, and food for the three of us and our professor to travel to Arusha, Tanzania from July 27 through August 8th. We hope that through your generosity we will be able to turn this opportunity into a reality.