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Monique Ntumngia is a Cameroonian lawyer and entrepreneur and the founder of the NGO Green Girls Organisation, which aims to train and empower women and girls in rural communities in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In 2019, Monique became the first African woman to receive the prestigious WWF Africa Youth Award for her work in the field of environmental protection. Today, as the CEO & founder of Monafrik Energy Ltd and a public speaker, Monique's ambition is to provide clean energy to women and girls in rural Africa.
Energia Africa: You trained as a lawyer, how did you develop this passion for renewable energy?
Monique: To start with, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk about my journey in the field of renewable energy. It all began in September 2014, when I was a programme manager for a Pan-African NGO and I came to the conclusion that there was a lack of lighting in rural areas in Africa. I have also always been passionate about environmental protection, nature and the simple things in life.
Why did you decide to set up the Green Girls Organisation?
I wanted to give women and girls in rural regions in Africa access to clean energy because they are the ones who suffer the most due to the lack of electricity.
Since its creation, the Green Girls Organisation has supplied renewable energy (biomass, solar energy) to more than 3,500 rural households in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Would you like to develop this project in other African countries?
Our work can be applied to all rural areas in Africa and is currently operational in Cameroon, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. We have recently been authorised to work in five other African countries. So, we will soon be getting back to business in these locations.
How do you use artificial intelligence to identify the clean energy requirements of African communities?
In our organisation, this technology is known as our “Coca-Cola” formula! All I can say is that it is based on our innovative model: MNKB92 which has been protected. This model enables us to pinpoint the specific energy needs of rural areas in Africa and the data collected allows us to provide specific solutions to this problem.
As the founder and CEO of Monafrik - a start-up that builds solar and biogas facilities - what difficulties have you encountered?
It is a challenge being a woman in a male-dominated sector. I am also not a scientist and do not have the same skill set as my team. And due to the lack of funding for start-ups run by women, we are unable to develop our business as quickly as we would like.
In your opinion, what impact do you think renewable energy could have in Africa, given its rising population?
I believe that the use of renewable energy in Africa is the solution that will solve our energy-access problem. We could preserve our biodiversity for future generations.
Is there an inspiring text, film, quote or work of art that you would like to share with us?
You must always believe in yourself despite the challenges because for people to reach out to you and offer you support, they need something genuine to work with. It is this belief in yourself that will motivate others to drive you to the next level.
By Aissata Kouyaté and Coulibaly Hamed