Aster Taye Asfaw - Founder and CEO of Amarach Energy Technology Enterprise

Aster Taye's Journey: Empowering Communities and Redefining Gender Norms

She  is one of the awardees of the influential Women in Energy Award of the influential women in Energy award of the year 2022.


           In the bustling city of Harar, Ethiopia, Aster’s journey began amidst adversity. Born into a family of farmers, she faced the tragic loss of her father due to war. Determined to forge a better future for herself and her family, she, alongside her mother and siblings, relocated to Wolayita Sodo in southern Ethiopia. Through unwavering dedication and a thirst for knowledge, Aster has emerged as a trailblazer in the energy sector, transforming communities and challenging gender norms along the way.


        Aster’s academic prowess shone bright during her time at Wolayita High School, propelling her towards new opportunities in Addis Ababa. A chance for three high-scoring students opened a gateway for Aster to pursue drafting studies at Tegbared Technical College. Equipped with newfound knowledge and skills, she returned to Wolayita Sodo and embarked on a career at Wolayita Sodo Geter Technology.


         For over two decades, Aster’s journey unfolded within the walls of the Wolayita Sodo Rural Technology Expansion Center. As a dedicated government employee, she managed workshops and spearheaded the design and implementation of various stoves and machines. Her innovative creations, including the corn extractor, barley flail, and Kocho extracting machine, garnered recognition and earned a place of honor at the Center for Exhibitors. Meanwhile, Aster’s thirst for knowledge remained unquenched, driving her to pursue further education in her spare time.


          Inspired by a technology concept presented by Samson Tolosa of GIZ, Aster’s entrepreneurial spirit ignited. In 2011, she established Amarach Energy Technology, drawing upon her years of experience and expertise. Her company quickly gained prominence, manufacturing and selling improved cook stoves (ICS) such as Mirt, Gonze, and Tikikl. Committed to bringing clean and efficient cooking solutions to rural areas, Aster expanded her offerings to include small solar home systems, addressing the energy needs of underserved communities.


        At the helm of Amarach Energy Technology, Aster led a dedicated team of laborers and employees, overseeing the manufacturing and distribution of various stove models. However, the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and rising metal prices necessitated workforce reductions. Nevertheless, Aster’s impact on her community remained profound. Her company provided employment opportunities to nearly ten female employees, empowering them with skills and economic independence. Notably, Aster’s own daughter developed into a talented stove designer, a testament to her mother’s influence and inspiration.

Aster’s journey and accomplishments have made her a role model for aspiring female entrepreneurs in Wolayita Sodo. Her story is one of resilience and determination, rooted in the sacrifices and hard work of her mother. From waking up at 1 a.m. to prepare food for sale, Aster’s mother instilled in her the importance of perseverance and the value of hard work. Through her innovative energy solutions and commitment to reducing black carbon smoke, Aster has positively impacted her community, improving the lives of countless individuals.


         Aster’s contributions extend beyond her immediate community. Her innovative stove design, capable of simultaneously cooking two meals, has garnered attention and even earned a utility patent pending. These groundbreaking stoves, proudly showcased at her shop, showcase Aster’s ingenuity and commitment to pushing the boundaries of energy efficiency. Recognizing her achievements, GIZ awarded Aster a briquette manufacturing machine, further expanding her sustainable energy initiatives. Her company’s transition from manual to automatic manufacturing processes has enhanced productivity and financial sustainability.


        Aster’s journey has been characterized by her unwavering determination to challenge gender norms and overcome societal expectations. In her early years as a government employee, she faced physical labor and heavy lifting, often without assistance from her male colleagues. Undeterred, Aster persevered, showcasing her strength and resilience. Building a barley flail in a mere 15 days, she shattered preconceived notions and earned the respect of her peers. Her exemplary performance left no choice but to acknowledge her undeniable talent, and she became an integral part of the workforce.


        Aster’s goals for the future are as ambitious as her past achievements. With unwavering determination, she aspires to sell one million improved cook stoves within a year, further expanding access to clean and efficient cooking solutions. Through collaborations with organizations like GIZ, World Vision, and the Ministry of Energy, Aster aims to continue her mission of providing small solar home systems to rural areas. Her dedication to training, sales, and installation ensures that communities not only receive the necessary equipment but also the knowledge to optimize its use.


        Aster Taye Asfaw, CEO of Amarach Energy Technology Enterprise, received the 2022 Influential Women in Energy Award at the Annual Women In Energy Event hosted by EWiEn. Her impactful leadership in the energy sector inspires the younger generation, and her innovative work through Amarach Energy Technology Enterprise has made significant contributions to the Ethiopian energy sector, benefiting rural communities and reducing black carbon smoke


       Aster’s journey from a small town in southern Ethiopia to becoming a prominent figure in the energy sector embodies resilience, innovation, and empowerment. Her unwavering commitment to transforming communities through sustainable energy solutions has inspired countless individuals and shattered gender barriers.With her company, Amarach Energy Technology, Aster has not only revolutionized the energy sector but also empowered women in her community. Her story serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration, proving that with determination, hard work, and a pioneering spirit, one can overcome adversity and make a lasting impact.

As Aster continues to forge ahead, her vision remains clear: to create a sustainable future where clean energy solutions are accessible to all. With each improved cook stove sold and each solar home system installed, she brings light to the lives of those who need it most. Aster’s journey is a testament to the power of innovation, perseverance, and the indomitable spirit of a woman determined to make a difference.


        In conclusion, Aster’s journey from a young girl in Harar City to a respected entrepreneur and changemaker in Wolayita Sodo is a testament to the extraordinary potential within each individual. Her story is one of resilience, determination, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. As her impact on the energy sector and her community continues to grow, Aster remains a shining example of what can be achieved when passion, ingenuity, and unwavering commitment converge.

Author: -EWiEn