First of all, I should start by thanking ALER for this opportunity to participate in this six-month training program. The Women Sustainable Energy Program allowed me to acquire more knowledge in the clean energy sector, to be able to relate with other women from the PALOP, with whom I had no contact until today, and now I already have colleagues from Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde. Who knows if this opportunity could be transformed into new exchanges of experiences, business, etc., with colleagues from the PALOP. I hope that one day this wish will come true.
The Women Sustainable Energy Program is, without a doubt, very important to me.
In any society, energy is fundamental, whether it is to carry out domestic activities, commercial activities, etc. For domestic activities women need energy, and while they manage their domestic activities, they can also run a small business, whether selling snacks or ice cream at home, and for all of this, they require energy.
This program made me understand the importance of energy in women's lives. I realized that in the energy sector women are hardly represented, therefore representation goes to men. We had testimonies from some women who were able to explain how difficult it was for them to integrate in this sector. Often, due to lack of knowledge or motivation, society itself considers that the energy sector is more suitable for men.
The program also allowed me to understand the importance of renewable energies in the world, as well as the types of renewable energies that exist. This contribution made me find an energy solution for my agricultural and tourist activity on my plantation, something I hadn't thought of until then. I've always focused more on solar panels. But with the training I realized the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of renewables, and that's how I identified the mini-hydro as the best solution for my context.
As part of the program, we had to set up a project that was related to renewable energies and that would also have an social impact on our communities. In this way, I started to research and realized that I had something valuable by my side that was not being used, a small stream that could provide energy for my activity 24 hours a day and thus improve the lives of all the people involved in this project, in particular my collaborators who are also women.
With this experience, and as an entrepreneur, I want to encourage even more women to witness and live my experience. Support whatever is necessary and, in particular, publicize the topic of clean energy in São Tomé and Príncipe as something accessible and well adapted to our reality.
I also want this mini-hydro energy project to serve as a model for my country. This is because I believe that with the natural characteristics that we have, such as the existing rivers, we can make small mini-hydro for different communities, something that already existed in colonial times and that can be rehabilitated with modern technologies without harming the environment.
Winner of the Women Sustainable Energy Program
Candidate from São Tomé and Príncipe