The first batch of women from rural areas of northern Senegal have qualified as solar energy and maintenance technicians after an intensive six-month training course run by DP World and Barefoot College International (BCI).
Now fully qualified as solar energy and maintenance technicians, the ten participating women, known as the ‘Solar Mamas’, can positively impact their local communities.
Their training was made possible through a partnership between DP World and BCI, a non-governmental organisation, which hosted the course at their regional centre in Toubab Dialao, a village around 60 km from the capital, Dakar.
The Solar Mamas were all selected from non-electrified, rural areas of the Ranerou region in northern Senegal, around 415 km from Toubab Dialao. For many of the women it was the first time they had left their region. They can now return equipped with the knowledge, skills and tools to make a positive difference in their own lives, and that of their communities.
DP World Dakar has the concession to manage, develop and operate the container terminal at the Port of Dakar, and is also developing the Port of Ndayane around 60km to the south. Last October, the company donated nearly $400,000 to BCI to equip a training centre in Toubab Dialao.
The donation also covered the cost of training the women to become solar technicians, educators and entrepreneurs. The Solar Mamas, who had little or no previous traditional education, can now install, maintain and repair solar-powered infrastructure in their local communities.
Each new trainee also received the tools and resources needed to become business owners in the solar energy sector. This will have a double impact -- sustainably powering the development of local economies while encouraging other women to join the sector.
In January, the women were surprised to receive a visit from Macky Sall, Senegal’s President, along with Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World, who encouraged and congratulated them on their efforts.
One of the graduates, 59-year-old Mairame Ba, said: “I loved these six months spent in Toubab Dialao, where I learnt a lot. I never imagined that I could become a professional in solar energy at my age and without ever having been to school. I can't wait to return to my village to bring electricity to my community. Having solar energy in our community will change our lives.”
Suhail Albanna, CEO & Managing Director of DP World Middle East & Africa, said: “We are working to ensure that our sustainable development actions have a real impact on people's daily lives. This is why at DP World, two of our three priorities in our sustainability strategy, ‘Our World, Our Future’, focus on women and education. We are happy to have contributed to this beautiful project which will have a definite and long-lasting impact on the women’s communities.”
Clarence Rodrigues, CEO of DP World in Dakar, said: “With Barefoot College International, we have found a trusted and experienced partner who has convinced us of their approach, which allows women to benefit from technical training that transforms them into entrepreneurs and who can change the lives of their community from the inside. We hope to continue this partnership and enable more and more women to be trained.”
Rodrigo Paris, CEO of Barefoot College International, said: “Today, ten fantastic women from rural Senegal graduate as Solar Mamas. They are the best example of integrity, courage and determination to bring light to their communities and hope for their families. We are delighted with the progress of our work in Senegal and the support that DP World Dakar is giving to create a meaningful impact for rural women in West Africa. Together we are generating comprehensive solutions to improve women’s lives, to tackle poverty and to promote sustainable communities.”-- TradeArabia News Service