Wellbeing of Farmers: Physical Wellbeing, Mental Wellbeing, Social Wellbeing
Key Challenges: Low farm income (market vulnerability), Administrative burden, Lack of attractiveness of certain farming profession, Lack of appreciation/support for female farmers, External factors (whether, climate change, etc.), Pressure from society/negative perceptions
Key Target Groups: women entrepreneurs
Farm Size: Small/Family, Medium, Large
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Organization: Energy Cooperative WEnCoop
WEnCoop is a “broad-based” energy cooperative created in 2021 by 66 women from diverse backgrounds and cultures from crafts, farming to services, commerce and tourism. This is an initiative of the Greek Association of Women Entrepreneurs – S.E.G.E. which aims to develop and promote women’s entrepreneurship, through which its members will be able to operate in the energy sector, utilizing clean energy sources.
The members of WEnCoop join forces to innovate and develop the 1st Energy Cooperative in Europe, putting into practice the energy revolution in the world of net zero.
The goals of the WEnCoop Energy Cooperative are to develop women entrepreneurship, empowering farm women, women from rural areas and every woman wishes to participate, and of course to promote energy innovation and to address energy poverty,
The objective of the WEnCoop is mainly to empower women from diverse backgrounds, such as farmers, strengthen the role of citizens and gradually evolve them from consumers to active members. Through participation women farmers will gain a fair income and will face the challenge from physical and mental burn-out to social Isolation and improve their overall wellbeing.
The overall goal is to reach out to concerned citizens and most importantly female entrepreneurs, women farmers, women in rural areas to create an entirely new market structure, which is not only focused on creating new products and services in the renewable energy sector but more importantly on raising awareness of women’s involvement in the Energy Industry.
Our Energy Community, as a social innovation initiative, is expected to have a range of social benefits to local community including increased autonomy, empowerment and resilience by providing a long-term income and local control over finances, in areas where there are few options for generating wealth.
WEnCoop is a project where women own or participate in the production and/or use of sustainable energy.
Energy Community WEnCoop has completed the construction of the first PV plant- 1MW in the area of Kassandra in Chalkidhiki (Greece) and is on hold for the Public Energy Distributor – DEDDIE to proceed with the connection, in order to start operating and producing energy. The next goals are to develop 3 more MW Parks while the vision is to use the produced energy for electromobility.
WEnCoop empowers its 66 women members and the local community not only to generate and export their own energy but also to reinvest part of the profits into the community. WEnCoop has a website, Facebook-Instagram- LinkedIn page and a Youtube channel and actively organizes workshops for empowering women members and others.
Main Outcome of the activity
The vision for WEnCoop is to provide opportunities for all, raise awareness, and in the meantime its members to assist in both the promotion of clean energy and the protection of the environment.
- for the farmers: Increased autonomy, empowerment, and resilience by providing a long-term additional income and local control over finances, in areas where there are few options for generating wealth.
- For the rural area/farming community Strengthening of relationships. Each member benefits from financial gains to energy costs and is able to operate in the energy sector, utilising pure energy sources, reduce the energy cost of its business and increase its family income.
Main Practical Recommendations
Farm women and practitioners may use this social innovation as an example of how to stimulate women in rural areas to take up entrepreneurial activities, to participate in energy communities or even establish their own. The combination of social innovation and community energy creates a new approach to developing new alternative energy marketplaces with social, environmental, and financial impact. Energy Communities have the potential to drive large parts of the population out of energy poverty risk (especially women) and to ensure sustainable growth for local communities without their physical burn-out due to the fact that all tasks are shared.
Key Stakeholders Involved
- Women entrepreneurs
- Women Farmers
- farming families (family-owned, small or medium-sized)
- overall the rural community
- local municipalities
Most Innovative Aspects of the Solution
WEnCoop is an initiative with limited risks and anxieties, that requires skills, easily achieved by women. Energy communities can contribute to energy transition by empowering women farmers, women in rural areas and women entrepreneurs in general to take ownership of energy project implementation, operation and allocation of benefits. With this type of entrepreneurship, women farmers will face challenges through diversification and communication with other urban women and achieve improvement of farmers’ mental, physical and social wellbeing.