The World Vision representative hands over a solar lamp to a beneficiary

BUJUMBURA January 10th (ABP) – Some 190 rural women from Mutimbuzi and Bubanza received on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, individual lamps with solar panels as part of the UNDP Women’s Self-Empowerment Pilot Initiative, through access to energy.

Implemented by the NGO “World Vision” in the localities of Mutimbuzi (Bujumbura), Bubanza, Bugarama (Muramvya), Busoni (Kirundo) and Kayogoro (Makamba), the pilot project equipped 428 women grouped in 11 associations with individual or collective solar lighting systems. The granted lighting systems provide lighting at night and generate small revenues, including charging phones for payment. The project also trained those women in the manufacture of improved stoves. In some localities, women are using their new improved stove making capabilities to provide services to the other people for financial compensation.

The joy was great for those women from Mutimbuzi and Bubanza who say their children will now study at night, that they will be able to serve their husbands the evening meals in the light while they used pieces of lit wood before.

Mr. Teixeira invited all national and local actors to join UNDP to further support women’s self-empowerment and access to green energy. He announced that UNDP will soon launch a larger project of the same kind to equip 5,000 women from Makamba, Rutana, Rumonge and Kirundo provinces with shared lighting systems. That project will be an opportunity to develop partnerships with universities, the private sector, national and local authorities, as well as women’s groups for innovative approaches to facilitate people’s access to solar energy.UNDP’s resident representative in Burundi, Alfredo Teixeira, said that despite Africa’s green energy potential, most of its people live in darkness at night, including in Burundi. Women are the most affected categories of the people because they are responsible for caring for children, cooking and collecting wood. Forests are threatened by the excessive use of wood, the main source of energy for households, which increases the natural disaster risks.

The governor of Bubanza province, Mr. Nobus Thérence Butoyi, said the security situation is conducive to the realization of projects aimed at improving the people’s living conditions. According to him, calm prevails in all the villages of the province.

A husband of one of the women who benefited from the lamps thanked UNDP and World Vision for those lamp donations and training for the manufacture of improved stoves and in the field of gender equality that are very beneficial to the people. The money used to buy candles will be saved. Thanks to those improved stoves, the consumption of cooking wood is reduced to a third (1/3). This eases the work of women who are usually in charge of searching for wood. He asked those partners to help the people to multiply projects that benefit them.

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