women, youths Solar Engineer Shares Skills

After solar electrifying all the houses in her village, 44 year old solar granny Lautani Nabua of Waikubukubu Village in Tavua has taken the initiative a step further by sharing
29 Mar 2014 07:56

After solar electrifying all the houses in her village, 44 year old solar granny Lautani Nabua of Waikubukubu Village in Tavua has taken the initiative a step further by sharing her skills on solar electrification with the women and youths.
A recent visit by Ministry of Women officials to the Waikubukubu village reveals that following the installation of solar electrification in June last year, positive impacts are now being felt by the villagers.
Each of the 60 houses that has been solar electrified has a solar panel, a lantern each, along with three solar home light system.
“The solar lights have made it easy for women to do their household chores even late at night they can do their cooking and cleaning. The children now have the freedom to study for longer hours and even in the women centre we have two solar bulbs there and women usually love to do their weaving, sewing and baking even at night,”Mrs Nabua said.
“There are 300 people in Waikubukubu who now enjoy solar lights and so far I have also trained six women and youths on solar installation.
“We even have a solar committee in the village and it actually helps me to carry out the maintenance work. We have done away with the candles and kerosene lamps and solar helped villagers to save money as well.
“Being the solar engineer has earned me a higher status in my community and especially being a grandmother, my families actually look up to me” Mrs Nabua said.
The Waikubukubu turaga-ni-koro (village headmen), Peceli Natusoro said solar is convenient source of energy in rural and remote villages like Waikubukubu.
“We are indeed grateful to the government for choosing Waikubukubu for solar installation, it is after long years of wait, that’s for 120 years we didn’t have any lights till last year when our solar granny put her skills to use that gave us access to solar system that is cost effective and easy to manage,” Mr Natusoro said.
In 2012, the Ministry of Women and Barefoot College identified 10 women aged 45 and 60 to undergo six month of solar electrification training at the Barefoot College in Rajasthan, India. Following their return their, these engineers had solar electrified their respective villages in Fiji.
The solar villages include Dama Village in Ra and Waikubukubu Village in Ba. For Eastern Division the four villages in Kadavu are Baidamudamu, Lawaki, Nabouwalu and Naioti Village.
Similarly for the Northern Division the six villages are Vunidogoloa in Cakaudrove, Lutukina and Nabouono village in Macuata, Yasawa and Nakorovou village in Bua province.
The rollout of the solar electrification has been conducted through the joint efforts of the Ministry of Women, UN Women, Barefoot College and Fiji Locally Managed Marine Areas Network (FLAMMA).
The Barefoot College has provided training to over 52 countries around the world and over 650 women have been trained as solar engineers, reaching over 350,000 people world-wide.
There are plans in place to build a Regional Barefoot Centre in Fiji, through which more than 200 grandmothers from the Pacific Island Countries will be trained as solar engineers, reaching out to 10,000 people and expected to save about 1 billion litres of kerosene.
Ministry of Wonen

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