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Mothers take time off household chores to learn solar lighting systems and repair
PAGADIAN CITY – Ang ina ang ilaw ng tahanan goes the Filipino maxim. And in the case of the 20 women that traveled to Pagadian from neighboring towns in Zamboanga del Sur, the mother is not only the light, but will be the one to keep that light burning for their home and community, as they learn about solar photovoltaic systems and repairs.
Participants at the All-Women Solar PV Technicians Training perform hands-on exercises on mounting solar panels and wiring PV systems.
Organized by the Alliance for Mindanao and Multi-Regional Renewable/Rural Energy Development III (AMORE 3) Program in partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Copper Association of Southeast Asia (ICASEA), the weeklong training, which started in January 30, was first of the four batches of all-women training that are geared towards capacitating a total of 65 women leaders from remote barangays all over Mindanao on basic technical skills in the installation, operation and maintenance of solar PV systems.
Michiel Cabel, 24, and a mother of four, took time off from her daily household duties and arrived in the city with her 1-year old daughter and husband, making it two hours ahead of the training’s opening program. Currently the Treasurer of the Barangay Pili Renewable Energy and Community Development Association (BAPRECDA), she will also be the village’s newest solar PV technician. “Gusto kong matuto kung papaano ayusin ang sirang solar at pano linisin ang mga baterya,” she says.
Over 400 off-grid, solar-powered villages in Mindanao face the problem of system maintenance and sustainability due largely to the absence of trained solar technicians in the village. Training women to be technicians is the AMORE program’s response to this challenge, as women are less mobile – therefore, stay in the community – as opposed to male villagers who usually leave home for long periods of time to work in the farm or in the city. The training activity also drew inspiration from the experiences of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka where thousands of women have been successfully trained as solar technicians and entrepreneurs.
Similar all-women solar PV trainings will be conducted in Dipolog, Zamboanga, and Tacurong cities in the coming weeks.