In the solar engineers trainings there’s a focus on women. The solar engineer project has demonstrated that bringing electricity to remote villages through solar energy could also be women's responsibility.
(Men might easily run off with their new knowledge and start their own business in the city somewhere, whereas the women give it back to the community and first and for all to their family. They invest in a better education for their children.)
Most of the solar engineers come from traditional and conservative societies and they have struggled to fight for their identity. That’s why this new confidence in the potential of women is so important.
Initially, the women participated in the training to fulfill a basic need: getting a job and improving the financial position of the family. The training was first regarded with suspicion, but as the results became visible, it earned the trust of rural communities. Especially the wider consequences are groundbreaking: the women gain self-respect and have secured a stronger position in the family structures. These rural women have become symbols of a new partnership within the community and are often used as examples to propagate and elevate women’s status.
In a second phase the participating women become teachers and pass their knowledge to other (also foreign) women. In this video we see a group of African women (from 8 different countries) following a six month workshop in Rajasthan. For most of them it was the first time that they left their home village and their family to go and live in another country, confronted with another culture.
For more on the Politics of Change project, see http://pad.ma/TF/info
For the finished film 'Mahila', see http://pad.ma/TL/info