60 Rural Women Benefit from Will-SL Training

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    By Foday Moriba Conteh

    To empower and enhance the participation of rural women in the ongoing Solar Energy Revolution in the country, Women Inspired to Learn and Lead Sierra Leone (WILL-SL) on Sunday 24th November 2019, successfully certified sixty (60) women on Solar Photovoltaic Installation And Maintenance (Solar for Farmers) in Pelewahun Ngiebu Village, Baoma Chiefdom, Bo District.

    Underscoring the purpose of the event, Chairman of the occasion, James Fortune, disclosed that the Solar Photovoltaic Installation and Maintenance Certification Training, in other words, ‘Solar For Farmers’, is a project being implemented by a women led organization called WILL-SL with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), through the GEF Small Grants Programme, adding that the project aims at empowering rural women in order for them to create more jobs and income-generating opportunities. “After several months of undergoing intensive training, I do express appreciation to the women for their relentless efforts towards the entire project implementation,” he showed gratitude.

    Section Chief, Sidikie Tomboyeke, expressed warm appreciation to Will-SL for the great initiative which he believes had positively impacted those women in that part of the country, noting that he is pleased to see the wonderful project become very successful regardless of the challenges, noting how they were able to brave all the odds and execute the project.

    He admonished the 60 women to be patient and embrace hard work, as the skills being acquired have the tendencies of bringing more opportunities to them.

    The United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Programme Coordinator for GEF Small Grant Programme, Abdul R. Sannoh, in his keynote address on the theme: “Participation of Rural Women in Solar Energy Revolutiondisclosed that the project is being supported by the UNDP Small Grants Programme, disclosing how the programme is geared towards supporting community organizations or group of people in any community that intend to engage in development activities.

    He admonished the rural women to take the solar energy revolution seriously, adding that in other advanced countries like India and Bangladesh, solar energy is used to produce vegetables. He lamented that Sierra Leone is still being deprived from having adequate tools and qualified technicians to continue to use solar in advanced and productive ways.

    He narrated how the process started from putting out advertisements in both print and electronic media, which made the competition very keen, as there were so many organizations that applied. In April last year (2018), he said, over sixty four (64) organizations applied, but only few were selected, based on merit.

    He furthered how based on the good intentions of WILL-SL for the Pelewahun Ngiebu Village, they decided to support the project, noting that the project is very unique, as it is geared towards giving skills to women that will empower them and ensure that they earn huge amount of income that will support their families, communities and the country at large. “Women are being limited just to the kitchens, thus this project also wants to break such a limitation,” he emphasized

    He underscored the various challenges being faced by women’s group in actualizing such goals, which according to him; include lack of adequate knowledge, lack of unity and unnecessary grudges among them, lack of confidence in themselves and cultural barriers not allowing women to explore their talents.

    A representative of the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education, Emmanuel M. Sandi, applauded Women Inspired to Learn and Lead Sierra Leone (WILL-SL) for their tremendous work in empowering rural women, adding that as the central body responsible for technical education in Sierra Leone, they are very much impressed and delighted by the initiatives of WILL-SL in complementing the efforts of the Government.

    He encouraged the women to be assiduous in pursuing knowledge, as more opportunities will come their way. He said that the current government is firmly supporting the good initiatives of women groups, as there is a special institution in Bo called the Government Technical Institute that is rendering free technical education to women, geared towards empowering them in that part of the country.

    The ceremony was graced by prominent stakeholders such as Chiefs, Government representatives, officials of UNDP, UNOPS, EDSA, women and youth groups etc.

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