Four Malagasy women received a six-month training in India to become female solar engineers. They will electrify their respective villages: Belo sur Mer and Betioky, and will set up a sustainable management system for the electrification of 200 houses.
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Malagasy “women engineers” trained in India
Nazemine, Nomeha, Malaindia, women from the Belo-sur-Mer Rural Commune, in the South-Western area of the Menabe region, and Tsiampoiza, a woman from the Betioky Commune in West-Central Madagascar, received training in solar engineering of six months in India.
These women were chosen because they were illiterate – they had to stop attending school at a very early age, and they have no responsibility in their community. In response to the great challenges, the WWF, the National Parks of Madagascar (MNP), the Ministry of Environment, Ecology and Forests, the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons, the Indian Government and the German Bank KFW, have decided to give them the opportunity to improve their lives by setting up the Barefoot College project. This project has two objectives: providing access to electricity, as well as empowering women in the MNP localities. Indeed, these communes are located in protected areas.
Nazemine, Nomeha, Malaindia and Tsiampoiza left Madagascar on September 15, 2017. Back in the Big Island, they are now certified as “women engineers” and will soon set up a system of sustainable management of the electrification of 200 houses in their respective native village.
“We will start by giving a conference on the training we have received in India in our village, and then a program will be put in place to continue the project,” said Tsiampoiza yesterday at the press conference at MNP Ambatobe.
Solar electrification project
After a conference to be given by these women engineers, in Belo-sur-Mer Commune, a community house composed of a special workshop for learning and dissemination of acquired technology will be installed. The MNP will ensure its construction and the acquisition of electrical equipment to install with an estimated value of 52,000 Euros.
Every family will have a choice between a set of three types of service: a portable solar lamp (low service), a solar photovoltaic system (medium service), a portable solar lamp and a fixed solar photovoltaic system (high service). As beneficiary participation, a monthly contribution ranging from Ariary 3,000 to 10,000 per family will provide women’s compensation as maintenance and purchase of new equipments. The contribution will be managed by these women themselves, with the village commission for the sustainability of the project.
Also in this framework of solar electrification project, a solar training center will be installed in the Big Island, as announced by Augustin Randrianarivony, Director of alternative energies within the Ministry of Energy. This center will train future engineers, instead of always sending them abroad, he said.
For the moment, only 15% of malagasy families have access to electricity, including 6% of families in rural areas. The ministry wants to increase the number of houses having access to electricity before 2030, using a method of solar electrification in the remote areas of the island.
The Barefoot College project is also entering in the context of the national policy of participatory conservation and promotion of green energy around protected areas.
Since the project was set up in 2015, 21 Malagasy women have been trained in India. 6 villages have received direct impacts of the project. On March 13, Miariline, an active woman from the village of Ambararata – a waterfront village in Kirindy National Park, Madagascar – also followed the same race to Tinolia in India.
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