Renewable Energy for the Empowerment of Rural Mozambique Women and Girls

B. C. Cuamba1*, M. L. Chenene, and A. Kalu2

1 Energy Research Group, Department of Physics, Faculty of Sciences, Eduardo Mondlane University,

Maputo, Mozambique, P. O. Box 257

2 Center for Advanced Water Technology & Energy Systems, Savannah State University, Savannah, GA

31404, USA

Corresponding Author, boaventura. cuamba@uem. mz
Abstract

The lack of electricity and other modern utilities in rural communities imposes an inordinate drudgery on the female population. This fact notwithstanding, women and girls may be lost or alienated customers in an energy for rural development program, unless they are purposefully engaged. To ensure that women are part of future energy planning and engineering workforce in Mozambique, a program for generating the interest of young women and girls in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (SMET) must be instituted in order to break the cultural barriers that have held them back from participating. This correspondence describes a project implemented by Eduardo Mondlane University, with funding support from Engineering Information foundation and USAID, to achieve this goal. Renewable energy training and outreach program was proven to be a catalyst for whetting the interest of young girls in SMET education. A successful Energy institute for girls from our remote rural villages, in which hands on training was used to demonstrate the power of science in solving real life problems familiar to them is described.

1. Introduction

In Mozambique, as in other African and traditional societies, women are yet to attain social and economic parity with men. Traditional societies have carved out roles for women. Women in rural communities bear the greater burden of the family unit. They are the principal providers of the basic needs of the family, and in many cases the only providers. The responsibilities imposed on rural women by the cultural norms of traditional societies inhibit their ability to participate in lucrative and emerging careers that would place them in high standing in the society. Young girls are trained to bare the burden of family rearing instead of pursuing SMET education, which is often the gateway to economic emancipation and high social status. More significantly, the duties expected of them and their mothers (in these patriarchal societies) make young women suffer the consequences of underdevelopment more than other segments of the rural community. They are responsible for fetching water and firewood to makeup for the lack of electricity and other modern utilities.

The lack of electricity and other modern utilities in rural communities therefore imposes an inordinate drudgery on the female population. This fact notwithstanding, women and girls may be lost or alienated customers in an energy for rural development program, unless they are purposefully engaged. To ensure that women are part of future energy planning and engineering

workforce in Mozambique, a program for generating the interest of young women and girls in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (SMET) must be instituted in order to break the cultural barriers that have held them back from participating. This correspondence describes a project implemented by Eduardo Mondlane University to achieve this goal. Renewable energy training and outreach program was proven to be a catalyst for whetting the interest of young girls in SMET education. A successful Energy institute for girls from our remote rural villages, in which hands on training was used to demonstrate the power of science in solving real life problems familiar to them is described.

Updated: July 15, 2015 — 12:40 pm