The five indigenous women, who travelled to India to learn about solar energy, returned to their territories to apply the knowledge in their communities.
Six months ago, five indigenous women travelled to Tilonia, a village in the Ajmer district of Rajasthan, India, to participate in the Solar Mammas a program foster by Barefoot College, an organization that since 2008, trains illiterate or semi-illiterate women in sustainable energy production for their communities.
For six months, Daolina, Bersabeth, Lucrezia, Katia, and Edimilsa learned about basic solar engineering tools and components, and acquired skills in making solar lanterns, puppets, and sanitary towels; installation of solar cookers and rainwater harvesting, among others.
On their return, the five solar moms hope to provide sustainable solar energy solutions for their communities, provide alternatives to batteries for used lanterns, and assemble solar cookers, drinking water, waste management and recycling and to form new leaders: We want to encourage the participation of women, to promote entrepreneurship based on their own knowledge, to propose new ones based on knowledge acquired in India such as the installation of solar cookers, the manufacture of lanterns and the production of sanitary towels and dippers.
This initiative aims to strengthen women’s technical capacities to strengthen their leadership and to promote not only the replication of this knowledge according to their communities, but also gender relations and political participation.
Daolina, Bersabeth, Lucrecia, Katia and Edimilsa were chosen by their Councils for their active participation in the organizational process of women in indigenous governments in their territories, because they are women over 35 years of age, mothers, leaders and connoisseurs of the culture and traditions they came to represent.
The International Solar Training is a collaborative effort between Barefoot College, the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of India. Thanks to this programme, there are now more than 2,200 illiterate women who know how to design, install and maintain solar systems that provide light and electricity to their villages.
This is why, upon his arrival, the Ambassador of India to Colombia, Sanjiv Ranján, received them in his office to hear about their experiences, learning and life in the Amazon. Likewise, the Amazonian women did not hesitate to extend an invitation to know their territories and ways of life, to which he gladly replied that he would be delighted.
Gaia Amazonas supported this process at the logistical and programmatic level. For the organization, the bet on solar electrification is key in the reduction of CO2 emissions, reduces the negative effects of deforestation and decreases air pollution by burning firewood and kerosene.