Women bring light to remote villages on islands of Zanzibar

(Reuters News, 21 May 2019) Grandmothers and single mothers are among those being trained as community solar engineers, a programme which they say could transform lives in their communities.

As a single mother, Salama Husein Haja was low in the pecking order in her village in Tanzania and struggling to eke out a living for her family as a farmer.

But now she hopes to gain status and a stable income after being trained as a community solar engineer for a project bringing light to scores of rural villages where no homes are connected to electricity on the islands of Zanzibar.

Grandmothers and single mothers - many of whom have never learned to read or write - are among those being trained under the programme which they say could transform lives in their poor fishing and farming communities.

"We struggle a lot to get lighting," said Haja, 36, a vegetable farmer and mother of three children from a village on Unguja, the largest and most populated island in the Zanzibar archipelago.

"When you don't have electricity, you can't do many things like teaching children. It forces you to use a lamp. The smoke is harmful, the eyes and the chest are affected.

"When the electricity is there, it's better."

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Reuters News, 21 May 2019: Women bring light to remote villages on islands of Zanzibar