PRESIDENT Ali Mohamed Shein has directed the responsible authorities in the government to employ the 13 lead women engineers who have been fixing solar lights in rural sector households.
The president issued the directive in Kibokwa village in Kinyasini, North Unguja Region, where he graced the fifth anniversary of Barefoot College in Zanzibar, saying the women have done a great job in lighting houses and therefore deserve to be employed by the government.
"The government has managed to connect electricity to 2,882 out of 3,256 villages in Unguja and Pemba from the national Grid, but some villages are not connected to the electricity, but instead use the solar power fixed by the women engineers," he said.
The 13 women, who have never been in any formal school, were trained at the college in India under the sponsorship of the Indian government which later facilitated the establishment of the college here in August 2015.
Dr Shein remarked: "We thank the Indian Government for the support.
We also thank other development partners such as the UN Women, who have been supporting the Isles college which so far has a total of 45 trained engineers, training other women, and also fixing solar lights to houses in the rural areas."
At the colourful event attended by dignitaries from the government including Ministers and the Chief Secretary, Dr Abdulhamid Yahya Mzee, the President directed the authorities to consider further expansion of the college because, following successful training, Zanzibar has plans to use solar power as its alternative source of energy.
"A study has proved that we can generate enough power from solar power, if that is the case, we will already have a training centre for engineers to fix solar equipment," he said, as the Minister responsible for Women Development Dr Maudline Cyrus Castico, thanked Dr Shein and development partners for ensuring that the college operates.
Ms Castico informed the audience that the college has been finding solutions for delays to get solar equipments, a challenge that hampers fixing of houses with solar power in rural areas.
“Over the past five years however, more than 950 households have solar lights enabling residents to improve security and children to study at night," she said.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Empowerment, Elders, Children, and Women Ms Fatma Gharib Bilali, said Barefoot College in Zanzibar trains women and young women to produce sanitary pads, beekeeping and beekeeping suits, and recently production of face masks used in the fight against Covid-19.