Eradicating Energy Poverty One Woman-led Social Enterprise at a Time
In the developing world, access to simple but vital necessities—like electricity—can be critical to improving the lives and social welfare of its citizens. Ash Hammad ’17, whose childhood in Palestine awakened an enduring passion for social justice, spent his fellowship working with Nepal-based social enterprise and Miller Center alum Empower Generation, an organization that provides training, products, and support to women entrepreneurs to develop clean-energy small businesses. “I hoped to help Empower Generation better understand its social impact on each women-led enterprise,” he explains.
To gather data, Hammad conducted a series of in-depth interviews with Empower Generation’s sales agents and shadowed a cohort of the organization's “Solar CEOs”. Hammad’s Miller Center fellowship—which entailed two quarters of academic training in social entrepreneurship and research design—enabled him to complete a full-scale evaluation of Empower Generation’s business model, complete with practical recommendations to deepen its reach and broaden its scope.
Hammad continues to build upon his skills as a changemaker. “My experience with Miller Center in Nepal inspired me to return to the West Bank after graduation to work with a summer program for Palestinian refugee youth,” he explains, “which then led to working with a Kenyan non-governmental organization focused on women’s education and economic empowerment.” Hammad has also completed Master’s Degrees in international development and trade and economic policy, and recently accepted a position with Palladium Group, a global impact firm linking social progress and commercial growth to create lasting social and financial impact.
For Hammad, having the opportunity as an undergraduate to design and conduct an evaluation for a social enterprise in the developing world “altered the trajectory of my academic and professional development—and I can still feel its impact today.”