Thursday, February 9, 2012

Solar Power in Mali: A Miracle for Women

Less than one percent of rural communes in Mali have electricity. But in Sirakorola, the administrative centre of a commune located 120 kilometers outside the capital city of Bamako, solar power is synonymous with economic boom.

"Ever since we had the solar panels installed, women haven't been buying charcoal or kerosene for their household chores. We water our plants with the solar pump and our market gardens have become much more profitable," says Nana Sangaré. Sangaré, the mother of seven children, is deputy mayor and the chairwoman of a Sirakorola women's association. Her responsibilities range from market gardening and making food-grade ice to supervising her village's health center and its two schools.

“Before this project, we didn’t have any income at all. Now I earn 3000 CFA Francs daily (around $6), which allows me to provide for my children’s needs,” SangarĂ© explains. More than 30,000 people living in the commune’s 55 villages benefit directly from the Malian National Program for Renewable Energy for the Advancement of Women (PENRAF), a project started by the Malian government in 2003.

Source: UNDP

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