Women empowerment through renewable energy access, skills training and business entrepreneurship to diversify traditional livelihoods to increase climate change adaptation.
About the Implementing organization
Name: Fandema Women Development Centre
Year of establishment: 2010
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization
Off-grid communities choose traditional Energy solution (fossil fuels) to start-up any new business. Fandema project has demonstrated the technical feasibility and commercial viability of implementing renewable energy for productive uses since conceiving the business idea is the solution to leapfrog the dirty development pathways followed by countries in the global North and power its economies and its societies through renewable energy.
Overcome the barriers for deploying RE in The Gambia by mainstreaming gender on the energy chain is a non-usual solution. Women designs their own solutions after nurturing their technical capacity; women install all the solar equipment in a state of the art systems for long term solutions and women managed this systems into business opportunities. In a country where there’s no formal studies on energy or renewable energy, graduating 11 women as solar installers and 26 women on waiting list; installed 391kWp solar photovoltaic systems; 412 CO2 tn/year reduced and 6 prototypes of solar income generating activities in the market, break the glass ceiling demonstrating that the combination of RE solution and women empowerment emerges a resilient community towards external changes.
Type of Action
Sustainable use / Pollution prevention, clean up / Awareness and education
Sustainable Development Element
Jobs and livelihoods / Renewable energy / Climate action
The Gambia has a good RE source endowment including an excellent solar regime (5 to 6kWh/m2/day). Although RE constitutes a real alternative to traditional power sources, there has been limited take-up. Fandema’s project aims to tackle the main barriers to RE solutions and build the women’s skills and capacity to become RE managers, suppliers, maintainers and businesswomen. The project is becoming a realistic RE interpretation centre in The Gambia. It combines technical professionalization, social innovation and RE growth. A high impact emerges from a combination of both developing higher technologies and making them accessible to the lower income sector, the women. RE knowledge transfer has been conducted through training two groups of 60 local people (50% women); 26 women trained as solar installers and 250 primary students and 75 tertiary students raised awareness on RE as a solution to energy access, in a country where there’s none-graduation of solar engineers.
Sustainable Development Impacts
Since October 2012, using an 8,3kW hybrid standalone system, Fandema has operated as a demonstrative project showing how solar and wind are a solution for long-term reliable energy access for socioeconomic activities. Almost 1760 new visitors have visited from 2013 (40% Gambian from 65 Gambian institutions) have validated that state of the art RE installations is among the best practice project and is suited in West Africa. Since 2016, women have proved that solar energy can be part of solution on the national energy supply as they installed 30kWp grid-tied connected avoiding 27,17 tn CO2/year. The ripple effect is obvious and has generated 361kWp representing a reduction of 385tn CO2/year; the current 3 main Gambian RE plants (120 kWp solar and 84kWp, wind), were inspired by visits to Fandema and other’s communities in The Gambia have requested replication of Fandema solar project in the other five Regions.
The massive potential of combining energy access through RE sources and women's empowerment (51% Gambian population) for sustainable development is undeniable. Currently, Fandema is a demonstration project that has already captured the attention of the national and international institutions as a feasible solution to alleviate poverty in a sustainable way and Government desires to scale it up in a nation-wide concept.
Gambia’s policy framework on climate change, RE, women’s empowerment and youth opportunities are enacted. Solutions diversification is the scalibity success as RE is used to power different economic activities to suit the diversity environmental contexts within a country i.e. a multifunctional platform to provide household services to reduce women’s workload; a cold preservation system for local markets or solar toolkits to power traditional men services managed by women. Socialization of high technology as a solution of poverty reduction is already tested successfully.
The scattered population and its low domestic energy needs are favourable factors for a replication of Fandema’s project in the methodology, products, training scheme and RE systems. Already, some organizations, from The Gambia and Western African countries, have requested a replication of our system into their communities. It fascinates them that organized training and empowerment can create socio-economic alternatives while preserving the environment and successfully returning the revolving fund. Mostly, their focus is on the community development approach through individualized itineraries; the revolving fund with successful payback; the RE training for professional careers and the solar toolkits to power low consumption activities like socio-economic needs related to water supplies (including irrigation), basic lighting, medical drug conservation (refrigeration), communication and audio-visual equipment as well as providing power for income generation activities.
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