How are women using solar power in Zanzibar?

Solar power is a great alternative to kerosene which is dangerous for people and the environment. For more information about this, read this article first HYPERLINK TO ARTICLE ABOVE

WOMEN IN ZANZIBAR

Only half of homes in Zanzibar are connected to national grid, and the rest must use kerosene fuel. A new scheme funded by an Indian enterprise, Barefoot College, has changed this. Villages can nominate two 35-55 year old women to leave their village for five months to train as solar power engineers. They can then return and set up the solar energy systems and receive a portion of energy bills as a salary.

This is not only great for the village as a whole, but also gives the women income and independence because for many it is their first experience of education. Women in Zanzibar are half as likely to be educated as men, and this experience can help them make a living for themselves whilst helping their surrounding community.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Having no electricity at home can keep many trapped in poverty. Turning to solar power or other more sustainable and cheaper forms of energy can help families as well as the environment. The scheme in Zanzibar is run by Barefoot College, an Indian based social enterprise, but there are other schemes available too.

SolarAid, for example, sells solar lights to local enterprises in remote regions of Malawi, Uganda and Zambia who can then resell them. This has the added benefit of creating jobs and income. The future looks bright!

Marwin Ramos

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