Lebanon: 13 Women Prove They Are Better Than Men in Solar Energy

Daily at eight a.m., a gaggle of 13 younger ladies clamber up a ladder onto the roof of a big gray shed to get to work below the morning solar. They are Lebanon’s first all-female photo voltaic workforce, coaching to put in panels that may energy a waste-sorting facility in the rocky hills above Lake Qaraoun, in the West Bekaa Valley.

“We’re doing one thing folks assume ladies can’t do,” 23-year-old Raja advised The Day by day Star. “They assume solely males can climb up on the roof and do one thing like this.”

For six hours a day, 5 days per week, the workforce supported by native NGO Renewable Innovation for Sustainability and Setting (RISE 2030) research and observe match collectively and place photo voltaic panels that, as soon as switched on, will imply the waste sorting plant will run solely on renewable vitality.

“This facility is a mannequin for a completely sustainable facility,” mentioned Ryme Assad, RISE 2030’s government director.

The waste sorting facility, which receives waste from six native municipalities, will quickly run on 100 p.c sustainable vitality, defined Nader Shehadeh, the challenge’s technical guide.

Paper, plastic, cans and aluminium are manually eliminated and sorted from a conveyor belt operating by the shed and compressed into giant cube-shaped bales, that are then bought on to recycling amenities.

The challenge is run by RISE 2020 with the help of the German authorities, the Social Affairs Ministry and the Federation of Bouhayra Municipalities.

Twenty-five out of greater than 100 candidates have been chosen to participate in the challenge based mostly on character, want, expertise and even whether or not they had a worry of heights, defined Assaad.

Initially, the 12 males and 13 ladies accepted onto the challenge have been put collectively in one group. Nevertheless, “the ladies weren’t interacting very effectively and the lads have been taking cost,” Assaad mentioned.

Primarily based on conversations with the ladies themselves and consultations with related NGOs, RISE 2030 determined to create a women-only workforce of trainees.

Not solely have been the ladies extra comfy engaged on their very own, Assaad mentioned, however as soon as they discovered that they have been feminine “pioneers” in the sector, they grew to become much more motivated.

“They actually felt they have been reaching one thing.”

Out of all working ladies in Lebanon, lower than one p.c work in the development sector, in keeping with a 2011 research by Lebanon’s Central Administration of Statistics.

“Sadly many individuals assume that this specialism is for males solely,” mentioned 29-year-old pc and telecoms engineer Hiba, who’s now learning for a doctorate and the challenge’s solely feminine supervisor.

“However that’s not true. We’re exhibiting that not all the pieces is about males.”

From begin to end the ladies took the lead, which means as soon as this system ends on the finish of March, they are going to be absolutely certified and able to enter into the world of labor.

“We began with theoretical coaching, introducing [the women] to the subject of photo voltaic vitality and completely different photo voltaic panel designs,” Shehadeh mentioned.

“Then, they began connecting and testing on the bottom.”

Putting in and eradicating giant, heavy photo voltaic panels is hungry work. Daily, Zeinab Abbas, the pinnacle of an area ladies’s affiliation, brings contemporary manakeesh loaded with za’atar or keshek to the workforce.

After checking the security of the shed’s roof, the ladies competed in small groups to attract up the most effective design on prepare the metallic buildings that the photo voltaic panels could be fitted to.

Now, after weeks of coaching, the workforce is able to match the panels completely. By the tip of the month, the plant ought to be absolutely operational.

“Regardless that I studied engineering, that is the primary time I’ve really come to a web site like this,” Hiba mentioned.

“What’s nice about that is that we did all the idea after which carried out it on the bottom.”

The ladies come from a spread of backgrounds, together with Syrian refugees, native residents and design graduates.

“I’ve discovered to cooperate and work with folks from different backgrounds,” Raja mentioned. “I’m actually proud to be working with these ladies.”

Due to the abilities they’ve gained throughout the challenge, 40 p.c of the trainees have already discovered part-time job alternatives in sustainability or agriculture.

“This challenge supplied a number of completely different alternatives,” mentioned Noura.

Noura speaks 5 languages and has been giving literacy classes throughout the workforce’s one hour break, educating ladies write key solar-energy associated phrases, like “electrical energy” or “panels.”

“We don’t must rely on males. We are able to work in any discipline we would like.”

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