Solar Bibi project launched to empower women

Islamabad, July 24, 2016 (PPI-OT): A project has been launched with an aim to provide solar solutions to women entrepreneurs so that they can improve their businesses and spread the benefits of solar energy throughout rural areas of the twin cities. After the first phase the scope of the project would be expanded to other areas where women are forced to stop work after sunset due to absence of electricity or loadshedding, said Samina Fazil, founder president Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) while speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the project.

She said that Solar Bibi is an initiative of IWCCI, Centre of Information Technology, Centre for Women Entrepreneurship, and Self Employed Women Association. Samina Fazil said that nightfall would have force women to stop working in rural areas but now with access to solar solutions like solar-powered lamps they would be able to work as long as they needs to.

This would change thousands of lives especially that of widows who strive hard to make both ends meet, she said. Women will be taught how to operate and maintain solar charging stations in their homes to help them earn decent living, she said. She noted that the availability of cheap, portable light would also help men to irrigate their farmland during dusk and dawn.

Speaking at the occasion, Ammar Jaffri, Director General (ICT) Centre of Information Technology, Islamabad said that according to the World Bank, about 44 percent of households in Pakistan are not connected to the grid and more than 80 percent of those are in rural areas. Almost half of households use kerosene as a primary or secondary source of lighting while some use candles, due to the high cost of kerosene.

“Our target is to provide sustainable energy to off-grid areas and we especially want to empower women in these areas through the project,” he said. Giving an example, he said that the solar lanterns will help reduce climate-changing carbon emissions, as each lantern will replace around 500 to 600 litres of kerosene during its 10-year lifespan.

Our country faces a year-round electricity shortfall that hits around 7,000 megawatts in the summer. Rural areas suffer blackouts of more than 14 hours a day while urban areas can experience up to 10 hours a day without power. The government needs to support off-grid solar projects and encourage people to use renewable energy sources to decrease the stress on the national grid, he said.

For more information, contact:
Samina Fazil,
Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI)
Mobile: +92-323-5343199
Tel: +92-51-2252256