A center for women’s empowerment in the field of solar energy has opened its doors in Senegal. Barefoot College International (BCI), an NGO based in India, has launched a center for women for providing training on autonomous solar system installations, in partnership with the Senegalese subsidiary of the UAE group DP World.
The training facility opened in Toubab Dialaw village in the Dakar region, aims to train women living in non-electrified areas and sub-regions of Senegal. The inauguration ceremony of the training center was held in the presence of Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, the CEO of DP World.
This initiative, financed to the tune of 250 million CFA francs (EUR 380,000), will help equip Senegalese women with solar-powered systems to combat poverty. This will allow BCI to train women who will become solar energy professionals, trainers, and micro-entrepreneurs.
Carine Sar, BCI’s General Coordinator for West Africa, noted that the training material is specifically designed for illiterate people. Keeping this in mind, the learning method is carried out on the basis of color, code, games, and drawings to simply allow these women to assimilate more easily.
The center has a capacity of about 20 women, with 4 training rooms and 6 rooms for accommodation. For the start-up phase, 10 women from remote villages of the Ranérou commune in the Matam region are following this training which lasts 4 months.
Mame Yacine Diop, Communication and Sustainable Development Manager of DP World Dakar, said, “At the end of their training, these women will receive kits to electrify their households and will return to their villages.”
Barefoot College International develops programs internationally, including solar energy, education, water, agricultural livelihoods, and health solutions. Through these types of training programs, the NGO aims the rural women, colloquially known as “Solar Mamas,” to become the drivers in guiding their communities toward a more sustainable future, protecting rural livelihoods.
Senegal has a solar potential of 5.5 kWh/m²/day, although solar energy is still very little used in the country. The Senegalese government has implemented the policy to seek alternative solutions to energy supply problems, by promoting renewable energy development to diversify its energy mix. In 2020, the Senegalese Ministry of Petroleum and Energy exempted from VAT (value-added tax) equipment intended for the production of clean energy, such as solar, wind, and biogas.