June 13-15, 2019: Nepali women bring solar to the Miteri Birthing Center in Jumla, Nepal

In mid-June, nine Nepali women trainees traveled with GRID to a remote village in the Jumla district Nepal to bring solar to the Miteri Birthing Center. With solar, the Center will be able to offer enhanced medical services 24 hours a day with lights, electric medical devices, refrigeration for vaccines, and counseling on reproductive health to patients of all ages. The installation itself served as a hands-on training opportunity for women, as part of GRID's Women in Solar Nepal program.

The Miteri Birthing Center (MBC) is located adjacent to the remote villages of Jodhgaun and Bhadgaun in the Jumla district of western Nepal, a region with some of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the country. Due to the remoteness and difficult mountainous terrain of this region, electricity has not been extended to these villages, and access to basic medical services and health education is severely limited. 

The MBC serves hundreds of women and children from the neighboring Jodhgaun and Bhadgaun villages, providing maternal and child healthcare, as well normal check-ups, medical services for common diseases and physical injuries, counseling on sexual and reproductive health, and mental health services. With the installation of a solar system in June 2019, the MBC now has a source of reliable electricity to power quality lighting, medical devices, refrigeration for vaccines, and provide service 24 hours a day. A well-equipped solar-powered birthing center enhances health care and educational services provided to the residents of Jodhgaun and Bhadgaun, which can help to improve health outcomes, reduce rates of maternal mortality, lower early pregnancies, and also enable greater school attendance and performance of children and adolescents. 

GRID partnered with Action Works Nepal (AWON) to make this project possible. AWON is a local non-profit organization that led the construction of the MBC, as well as equipping the facility with the necessary medical devices, and staffing the Center with a trained Auxiliary Nurse Midwife, Sharada Rokaya. This is AWON’s second birthing center of its kind, following the construction and solarization of a birthing center in Sanigaun, also located in the Jumla district. 

As part of our Women in Solar Program in Nepal, the 5kW solar system itself was installed by a group of nine Nepali women to provide a hands-on solar training opportunity for women looking to enter the growing solar industry. GRID staff lead the installation together with technical solar partner Gham Power, carrying out a work plan with the training participants that included a technical orientation session, daily safety training, educational curriculum materials, and working in teams to complete the installation from start-to-finish. This was GRID's third Women in Solar project in Nepal following the launch of the Program in December 2018 and the completion of our second project in February 2019. Four of the women joining GRID for the MBC installation completed their third training, providing these participants the opportunity to further refine and build the skills they gained in previous installations. They were joined by two women from the local Karnali Sports Club, as well as two women from Kathmandu, who recently completed their engineering degrees in university. 

See photos from the installation and also check out our Women in Solar Nepal video!

Thank you for the generous contributions of our supporters who made this project possible! Financial support for the International Program helps us continue to bring energy access to those that need it most and offer solar training opportunities to more women in Nepal. Consider a donation today!