Rural women in the Philippines become solar entrepreneurs

Matigsalog women of Barangay Marilog in the mountains of Davao City have been trained to manage 88 solar lanterns and two solar PV battery charging stations. They received three month’s technical training as well as training in entrepreneurial skills.

These developments were spearheaded by a Davao-based nongovernment organization that helps people pursue organic farming and livelihood projects. The organization was aware that solar home systems had just been installed in two neighboring villages the previous year and contact Amore and suggested a household electrification project in Marilog.

The Alliance for Mindanao Off-grid Renewable Energy (AMORE) Program is a partnership of governments, principally of the United States through the United States Agency for International Development and of the Philippines through the Department of Energy, and private sector partners from the energy industry such as the former Mirant Philippines Foundation and Sunpower Corporation.

The AMORE Program works on three areas - Rural Electrification through Renewable Energy (RE), School Electrification and Distance Education (SEDE), and Wash, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH).

Early this year, Amore held week-long training sessions on PV operation, maintenance and troubleshooting in the cities of Pagadian, Dipolog, Zamboanga and Cotabato. Villages that were already solar-powered experiencing maintenance problems due to lack of trained technicians. The program drew a total of 65 women from project sites across Mindanao. Amore is training women to be technicians as

women are less mobile because they stay in the community while their husbands usually leave home for long periods of time to work on farms or in cities.