Empowering women in western Bali
In Indonesia, one out of four families has no access to electricity. Around the globe, breathing in kerosene fumes equates to consuming two packets of cigarettes and one person dies every 20 seconds from indoor air pollution.
In Bali, Rotary eClub, with Solemen Indonesia, are working with experts to build a women-centric energy distribution network that proceeds from this book will support. This will deliver solar lamps to communities, empowering women to become rural solar entrepreneurs.
Research by US-AID found that for every dollar a woman earns, 90 cents is reinvested back into the family, compared to 40 cents for men.
In rural areas, women have strong ground networks, greater information on who is credit worthy, and make key decisions surrounding energy expenditure.
Nusantara Development Initiative (NDI) is an award-winning non-profit social enterprise with offices in Singapore and Indonesia, whose aim is to end energy poverty in rural Indonesia through women empowerment and technology via their “Ibu Rumah Terang” (Mothers of Light) program. Solemen are NDI partner for all operations in Bali, and Rotary eClub Bali are proud to be helping fund the pilot village.
The Lighting Lives program trains women in bookkeeping, product and after-sales service for solar lighting. Communication skills are improved and connections made across communities.
Everything from marketing, to how villagers will benefit from solar lamps and receiving an official qualification is covered.
Since the program began in 2010, 40 villages have been reached, reducing CO2 by an estimated 315 tonnes. 70 entrepreneurs have earned approximately $US10,500, and over 14,000 people have benefited, saving around $US87,000 in energy expenses.
Profits are streamed back to the program to ensure continued program growth. The model is based on micro-consignment rather than micro-credit, meaning that the women only pay for the product after the sale, and not before, ensuring success without debt. Women are empowered to not only help their families but become leaders in their communities.
Writing books is a way to reach out to others, and on International Women’s Day, recognise not only women paving the way for others, but to provide a path for those without those opportunities.
$3,000 was raised by the sale of this book, for the first pilot project in Bali, giving the gift of inspiration and reaching women across the waters to our neighbours in poverty-stricken western Bali.
Bill McAlaney with Robert Epstone - Solemen Indonesia
President - Rotary eClub Bali