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Through fair trade and free electricity, SOCHILI's hot sauce empowers farmers in Senegal

Chili peppers are renowned for their fiery heat, and now a German startup, SOCHILI, aims to channel that intensity into providing electricity for rural communities in Senegal. With every 365 bottles of hot sauce sold, one household will gain access to clean, free electricity for one year.

The Dortmund-based social enterprise is adopting a dual approach to support local farmers and their families. First, they ensure fair compensation for the chili peppers farmers cultivate. SOCHILI's initial batches of hot sauce use peppers from Spain, but this summer the company will start importing chili mash from Senegal, anchoring the value chain within the local farming community. The second component of their strategy is free power.

In collaboration with Africa GreenTec, which installs mobile solar containers in Sub-Saharan villages, electricity will be supplied as part of SOCHILI's Good Plan. It's launching in the Senegalese village of Ndiob where farmers can apply for free electricity. Every time 365 bottles of hot sauce are sold, another farmer will receive a year's worth of solar-powered energy for their household.

Future steps, as laid out in the startup's impact roadmap, include finding a CO2-neutral solution to transport ingredients from West Africa to Europe and securing organic certification.

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According to SOCHILI, one in two people in rural Senegal lives without electricity. Many farmers also lack access to profitable markets. Through fair trade, the startup offers communities a leg up to self-sufficiency. Add in the ability to power light and cooling systems, and prospects for economic growth expand even further.

For brands eager to make a difference: don't just search for a cause to support. Instead, focus on fostering autonomy, providing any missing stepping stones and building a mutually beneficial relationship. Then share that holistic story with your customers :)