The training of rural women to become solar engineers is an icon of hope and inspiration for Fijian women to fulfil their dreams despite age and qualification.
This was ascertained by the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Jiko Luveni at the inauguration of the “Workshop for Fiji’s Solar Engineers and Village Solar Committees”.
Minister Luveni said the solar panels have arrived last month and the solar grandmothers will be learning skills in financial literacy and management to successfully carry the project to completion and sustainability.
The solar grandmothers will return to their villages and set up solar panels lighting up ten villages in Kadavu, Cakaudrove, Macuata, Bua, Ba, and Ra provinces.
“The grandmothers will develop individual solar installation work plans for the ten villages. The committees are made up of a group of people that the villagers identified as committed, responsible and highly respected for their leadership skills”, Dr Luveni said.
Meanwhile, Minister Luveni has also announced plans for the development of a Regional Barefoot College in Fiji which is currently in progress through cabinet approval and partnership with Ministry of Youth and Sports.
The proposed site for the Regional Barefoot College to serve the Pacific is the Naleba Youth Training Center in Macuata.
Indian High Commissioner to Fiji, Mr. Vinod Kumar highlighted that the workshop underscores the importance of adoption of solar energy and the role of women in this endeavour.
The commitment of valuable partners the UN Women, UNDP, Global Environment Facility Small Grants Program, the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Network and WESTPAC contributed to the success of the project through financial assistance the transportation of the solar equipment to Fiji.
Miriama Moceiwasa (Solar engineer) of Naioti Village in Kadavu thanked the government of the day for this special project.
Ms Moceiwasa said the arrival of the long awaited solar equipment has brought hope to villages.
“We are blessed to be given the equipment and the opportunity to use the skills that we have learnt as engineers and also contribute to the livelihoods of villagers,” Ms Moceiwasa said.