Three rural Somali women are being trained as solar-power engineers in India and are hoping to bring new technology to their villages in remote parts of Puntland.
The women from Taleh, Badhan and Alula districts were selected by Puntland’s ministry of women’s development and family affairs for scholarships to attend the six-month training programme at the Barefoot College in Rajasthan, India, from September.
The women are all from villages far from urban centres where there is little electricity and no alternative sources of energy available.
Hali Farah, 38, from Hingalol in Badhan, told Radio Ergo they get only a few hours of electricity in her village. When she returns from the training she hopes to promote the use of solar energy and train others on the technology.
Najah Ahmed Adan, 30, said it was the first time in her life that she had received any such training.
Fatuma Shabel, 55, is a long-time advocate of women’s welfare in Habbo in Alula, Bari region. She told Radio Ergo she planned to bring much needed electricity to serve the people, fishermen and farmers in her village.
Anisa Abdulkadir Hajimumin, minister of woman development and family affairs in Puntland, said they had selected these three women because they were likely to remain in their villages and had a good understanding of the problems and needs facing local families.
The ministry plans to open shops for the women to sell solar equipment and apply their new skills, with the aim of enabling low income families and women with small businesses to get affordable light in their homes and places of business.
“This will create jobs for them and we also want women in these areas to get their share of opportunities relating to these kind of skills,” the minister said.
The ministry awarded various study and training scholarships to 30 other women, both in and outside Somalia.