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The Agricultural and Rural Prospects Initiative (IPAR) has announced a project in collaboration with the Center for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI) for the installation of solar-powered irrigation systems in two West African countries. The program which primarily focuses on improving the agriculture sector in Senegal and Guinea also aims to empower rural women in the region.
This initiative is funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Canadian federal Crown Corporation, to the tune of 1 million Canadian dollars ($77,000). Through this program, IPAR and CECI will facilitate water and irrigation systems using solar energy and improve the profitability and working time of rural women in the two countries by 2025.
Laure Tall, IPAR’s Research Director, commented, “We are addressing mechanisms that can enable better use of solar in the horticultural value chain, especially for irrigation, but also in processing and preservation. We will also strengthen the capacity of women to use these technologies and to access finance in order to achieve social empowerment.”
The solar-powered irrigation project will be deployed mainly in the Niayes area, a coastal strip that starts from Dakar and Saint-Louis to the Boké region in northwestern Guinea. According to Mouhamed Ndiaye, the first Technical Advisor of Senegal’s Ministry of Women, Family, Gender and Child Protection, the economic activities are still slowed down in these communities due to the low rate of electrification.
Many projects are being developed in Senegal to accelerate access to electricity and promote climate-resilient agriculture, along with empowering women in the country. Last year in December, Indian NGO Barefoot College International and the Senegalese subsidiary of the UAE group DP World, opened a program named ‘Solar Mamas’, a facility for training women on the installation of autonomous solar systems in a village near Dakar.