About Us

Leah Victorino & Lorena Brothers

our story

Leah & Lorena's journey started in 2015 in Italy. We were assigned as roommates at St. John's University's Rome campus as we began our Global Development & Social Justice graduate program. Since then, based in Boise, Idaho and L.A. respectively, we've managed to bond over travels on three continents and a deep connection through the work of fighting global inequality. We did not come from a formal background in energy and tech, but through experiences in the global development field, we have each come to understand how control and distribution of literal power (i.e. electricity services) correlates with many other forms of power (financial, political, social, etc.). In communities where access to modern power is a given, it is easy to undervalue how much basic energy inputs contribute to health and prosperity. We no longer take power for granted and strive to empower others with energy they can use to thrive. 


With support from an incredible network of friends, family, colleagues, our educational institutions, and our partner Empowered Solar, we have come to a place where we can advocate and organize for energy for all

Our team

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core team

  •  Leah Victorino, M.A., Global Development & Social Justice
  • Lorena Brothers, M.A., Global Development & Social Justice
  • Megan Tortorelli, M.P.H., Behavioral Science & Health Promotion
  • Tyler Victorino, P.E., Electrical Engineer 
  • Alex McKinley, M.Sc., European Master in Renewable Energy

consulting team

  • Maria Reyes Garcia, M.Sc. Social Anthropology
  • John James, Diaspora Development Consulting

Energy for empowerment

What is the problem?

 Can you imagine what life would be like without energy? 


For those who have access to enough affordable, appropriate energy services, it is easy to take electricity for granted. 


Nearly half the world lives off the grid without access to modern services for lighting, cooking, refrigeration, education, communication, leisure, and more. 


Energy poverty is a solvable problem. 


HOW DO WE SOLVE IT? 

Clean energy technologies exist. Consumer demand is there. We focus on the disconnect between users and life-changing technologies.  


Wempo Energy is a social enterprise with the will and the know-how to solve it. We use a women-centered social enterprise approach to connect primarily off-grid consumers with appropriate, affordable energy technologies such as solar lamps, home energy systems, and clean cooking. Our local collaborators and entrepreneurs act as the conduit between rural female markets and the tech industry, promoting benefits of clean energy in their communities and curating a more accessible marketplace.

Our "why"

 Our vision

an equitable and environmentally-just world where everyone has access to enough affordable and appropriate energy to thrive


Our purpose

to supply the energy demand of end-users—with attention to female end-users—in unelectrified or under-electrified communities in the most efficient, ethical, and equitable way.    


Our mission

to leverage women-centered social enterprise to connect off-grid communities with clean energy that powers their pathway to sustainable wellbeing. 

Learn more about global energy poverty

Where are we headed?

In mid-January, Leah conducted a survey trip to Guatemala and learned a great deal about who is working in this space, what is already working, and where there is room for improved services to off-grid areas. Now we're reaching out to fund our competition bid in Atlanta and a spring follow-up trip, in which we will take the collaborations that we started in January to the next level. We'll go deeper into understanding where and why the energy value chain fails to reach rural communities and how we can build link to extend that chain. Next steps are to get Lorena and Leah back in the field to begin set up for the women-centered pilot program. 


Our first crowdfunding campaign successfully raised enough to cover the cost for Lorena and Leah to travel to compete in the IEEE Empower a Billion Lives competition, an event organized to promote innovative solutions to energy poverty. The competition has been an incredible learning opportunity as this social enterprise grows. 


The next step are to return to Guatemala for further market research and collaboration development on the ground. 


JOIN US BY INVESTING IN SOLUTIONS FOR ENERGY ACCESS! 

FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS SUPPORT OUR UPCOMING WORK IN GUATEMALA


Partnership building & target community research
$1800 = airfare for two teammates to Guatemala (including purchase of carbon offset for impact of air travel)
$400 = lodging for one week
$300 = total per diem for two teammates in the field over six (6) days
$150 = transportation in-country
$150 = miscellaneous expenses (international fees for: phone service, banking, currency exchange, etc.)

Invest in women!