“When I was a child, we didn’t have light. We had to do our homework, our chores, by candlelight. But now that we have electricity, it is very useful.”
Nelly Arias lives in the Cayachira Community in the Santa Lucia district, Lampa, Puno. Her home was, until recently, one of 450 thousand homes in Peru that didn’t have electricity. The most affected have been rural populations.
But this is changing.
A year ago she had a photovoltaic panel installed in her patio, and with the use of renewable energies, her life turned around. Now, Nelly is learning about the usage, maintenance and installation of photovoltaic panels, to be able to share her knowledge and experience with other people of her community, that way they can also improve their quality of life.
The knowledge in these technologies has also awakened in Nelly a new dream: with her abilities in installation and repairing these technologies she wants to start a business where she can repair and sell appliances compatible with the panels. In Puno, where women have 11% less participation in the workforce than men, Nelly is chasing a business idea that also works for benefit of her community.
With her first photovoltaic panel, she and her husband grabbed a wire and installed a lightbulb to light up their yard. Now, she wants to light up her community.
“I know I’ve done it.”
Nelly is one of the students of the eMujer Renewable Energy School for Women, carried out in four regions of Peru by the Ministry of Energy and Mines and UNDP. The school teaches women about the usage of clean energies like photovoltaic panels (in Mazan, Loreto, and Cayachira, Puno), and improved stoves (in Quiñota, Cusco, and Cajamarca). It is made up of three stages: training, installation/building, and finally the ideation of a business model.