DP World and Barefoot College Institute joins hands to empower rural women in Somaliland

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2006

The DP WORLD company that manages Berber Port services in collaboration with the Barefoot College Institute (BCI), said that they have sent ten women from Somaliland to Zanzibar for a three month training courses on solar energy technology and business innovation.

Six of these women were selected from the city of Berbera, while the other four were from Hargeisa. The training is part of a program called Solar Mamas, which encourages the development of women’s professional knowledge in modern techniques of solar energy and other income generating skills.

As reported by Freightweek.org, while the demand for electricity is increasing worldwide, and more than one billion people in the world are facing a lack of electricity, efforts are being made to reduce this demand and how to create a sustainable energy environment.

The training offered to women lasts for three months and is provided by the BCI Institute which is based in Zanzibar and is a partner of the DP WORLD Company.

This kind of training has also been carried out in Senegal, where women in the country have been given professional training like this, as part of the SOLAR MAMAS project.

During the program, women will learn essential skills in solar engineering and innovation, equipping them with the knowledge and tools needed to start their own business.

 

In the first group, six of them are from the city of Berbera, where DP World manages the port of Berbera and the Berbera Economic Zone. Another four are from the poor areas of the capital Hargeisa. The Somaliland program is based on the success achieved by the Solar Mamas organization in Senegal.

The Solar Mamas initiative works at the grassroots level to empower women with practical skills that overcome language and literacy barriers, enabling them to install and maintain solar energy systems in their villages.

Through the expansion of the Solar Mamas programme, DP World and BCI are committed to providing access to clean energy and economic opportunities for women in rural communities.

Globally, around 1 billion people lack access to electricity, with many development solutions relying on complicated technologies that are inaccessible to rural populations and difficult to maintain. Recognizing this challenge, the Solar Mamas initiative works at the grassroots level to empower women with practical skills that transcend language and literacy barriers, enabling them to install and maintain solar power systems in their own villages.

In collaboration with their local communities and BCI, DP World selected 10 women from Berbera and Hargeisa to participate in a 3-month training course at BCI’s training centre in Zanzibar. During the programme, the women will learn essential skills in solar engineering and entrepreneurship, equipping them with the knowledge and tools needed to start up their own small-scale ventures in their communities.

Of the first cohort, six are from Berbera, where DP World operates the Berbera port and Berbera Economic Zone. Another four come from underprivileged areas of the capital Hargeisa. The Somaliland programme builds on the success of the Solar Mamas in Senegal, which saw its first batch of graduates in 2022. The original 19 Solar Mamas from Senegal are now well on their way to transforming their own communities by electrifying 952 homes already.

Daba Cissokho is one of the Senegal programmes’ graduates. Hailing from Kedougou in south-eastern Senegal, nearly 750km from the capital, the 42-year-old single mother of three used to run a stand in the local vegetables market to support her extended family. She speaks with pride of her new skills.

“Daba before and after the training is not the same person. I have a profession for which people will reach out to me. I am a solar engineer,” said Daba. “Women should not be scared to try or explore new things. We have so many options to improve our lives if we try”, added Fatumata Ladji Dialo, another graduate.

Maha AlQattan, Chief Sustainability Officer at DP World, emphasized the company’s commitment to women’s education and empowerment: “Our investment in the Solar Mamas initiative has been a resounding success, and we are thrilled to expand this program into Somaliland. By harnessing the potential of women in solar engineering and entrepreneurship, we’re not just lighting up homes; we’re igniting the engines of community growth and resilience.”

Rodrigo Paris, CEO of Barefoot College International added: “We are incredibly fortunate to have found a partner as committed to our core values as DP World. Their support has changed the lives of marginalized women and dramatically improved living standards in their communities. Together, we are driving positive change for generations to come.”

As International Women’s Day approaches, DP World urges stakeholders to support initiatives that empower women and accelerate progress towards gender equality.

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