EDITORIAL : Women Have Shown Us the Way That Solar Energy Is Power Source Of the future
The return of 15 Fijian grandmothers from India as qualified solar engineers has a powerful symbolic significance.
They have bucked the trend in some of our old traditional thinking that grandparents have no more challenges in life and should retire quietly.
Secondly, the old perception that the women’s place is in the home doing domestic duties, has been busted.
Thirdly, that age should not be a barrier to continuing education, personal and professional development.
Not only are the India-trained women going to be gainfully employed or run their own business, they will also become trainers at the Regional Barefoot Vocational Training Centre which will be established in Nadogo in Macuata.
Aged between 38 to 68, these women are leading the charge on something that everyone talks about but does little – and that is using solar energy.
One of them, Miriama Moceiwasa, of Naioti Village in Yale, Kadavu, no longer has to worry about using most of her expenses on buying kerosene for her lamps.
The 52-year-old now uses solar panels for electricity. She has also become a trained and competent solar engineer after attending a six-month training course at Barefoot College in India in 2012.
She was also able to set up solar panels and bring power to her village since her return.
All this was made possible through a partnership with Government through the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation and the Indian government.
Ms Moceiwasa is an inspiration. And, her actions are already making a difference in her community.
The positive impact of this programme far outweighs any other considerations.
One of course is the issue of women empowerment.
These solar engineers will light up their respective villages and share their newfound knowledge with fellow villagers.
They will help villagers save on kerosene, gas and electricity. Savings will go a long way for the villagers.
Most importantly, is that solar energy is clean energy. It cuts carbon emission, reduces greenhouse effect, and helps us to breathe cleaner air. It’s a win-win situation for everyone in the long term.
Any new development that reduces our carbon footprint is welcome because we know it will have a positive impact on global warming and climate change.
The shift to solar energy should be encouraged because of the benefits.
We must reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Some buses, taxis and vehicles continue to belch out thick plumes of smoke from their exhausts. They seem oblivious to the harm they are causing to the environment and people’s health. As part of our clean and green campaign, we need to crack down on polluters.
The country’s electricity needs still depend to a certain extent on fossil fuel.
But this will come down if we move more into other sources of energy like solar or even wind. Investment in this area will cost initially but in the long term it will be justified through savings and clear air.
The 15 women are trailblazers. They have started an energy revolution that hopefully will spread quickly throughout the country.