Training illiterate women to install solar panels – can it really be a bad idea?

// 16 February 2008

I am so split on this one: of course anything that improves women’s lives (not to mention leads to the use of renewable power to provide light and heat to poor villages), has got to be good. But there are elements of this scheme that really made my skin crawl – for example, the women are trained, but they are purposefully not given certificates to show they are qualified, to prevent them leaving their communities for urban areas. So, giving women a bit of economic power and education is a good thing, but restrict them just enough that they are forced to stay where the agency wants them. Hmmm.

(Via Green Girls Global)

Comments From You

judith weingarten // Posted 16 February 2008 at 1:53 pm

I understand your reaction to the lack of certificates for the women but I suspect that, if any of the women took to the town, that would cause the collapse of the project: the village men would never let another one go for training. Besides, the solar project is a communal effort: everyone must play (and pay) their part.


Visit Zenobia’s blog Empress of the East

Barry Maurer // Posted 23 December 2008 at 2:28 pm

Wow – excellent project – as an engineer / pilot I’ve always been drawn to things technical that can have real benefit especially to underprivileged people. My projects are based around water provision in Kenya and Tanzania but I’m very interested in the success of this project, solar being something I am just getting into. Well done again on this magnificent and stunning programme, regarding the previous comment about certification, I hear what the author is saying but consider that the first guys to build a powered aircraft (Wilbur and Orville Wright) were not certified aerospace engineers – they were un-certified bicycle mechanics!

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