"Mujeres del Sol" 2019! Bringing solar and improved cookstoves to families in El Platanal, Nicaragua

In January 2019, 10 Nicaraguan women traveled with GRID Alternatives to El Platanal, Boaco to install 15 solar home systems and 11 improved cookstoves, for GRID's 5th Annual Women in Solar project! GRID has worked with El Platanal to bring solar to their community since 2013, and with the completion of this project, 20 more families now have access to basic lighting and electricity needs, and/or a cleaner, safer, and more efficient wood-burning stove.

Landscape view of El Platanal.
The small, remote community of El Platanal, dispersed across its stunning countryside, does not have access to the national electric grid
Due to El Platanal's small population size of 246 people and its limited road access, the national electric grid has never been extended to this community and most families lack access to conventional electrcity. The majority of community members make their living working in small-scale agriculture, while other residents have jobs outside the community or emigrate to Costa Rica on a seasonal basis to harvest coffee. Women in the community tend to have a traditional role in the household, and children only have access to the local multigrade school. 

GRID Staff, Women in Solar Participants, and Local family pose with their solar panel
GRID Solar Technician, Karelia, working alongside Women in Solar participants and local family from El Platanal
GRID started working with the Platanal community in 2013, installing solar on the local school. In 2015, GRID installed 40 Solar Home Systems, followed by 11 Solar Home Systems and 12 improved cookstoves in 2018. Now, in 2019, with the help of 10 Nicaraguan Women in Solar participants, GRID installed 15 more solar home systems and 11 more improved cookstoves in El Platanal.

Women in Solar participants and local family using their newly installed improved cookstove for the first time
Local family alongside Women in Solar participants, learning to use their newly installed improved cook-stove for the first time
From the moment the first project was requested by the community of El Platanal, the local community and their Energy Committee has been direclty involved in project planning and execution. From carrying electrical equipment and supplies, to cooking for groups during installation days, opening up their homes as homestays to participants, contributing a percentage of the system cost, and attending meetings and trainings offered by GRID before, during and after the project, the community members of El Platanal have provided invaluable support to GRID's team and GRID's participants to make these projects possible and to bring solar and improved cookstoves to their community.

As part of our Women in Solar Nicaragua program (Mujeres del Sol), this project gave the 10 local women participants the opportunity to get hands-on experience in solar and the chance to build their skills and resume to enter the predominately male-dominated industry. See photos from the install!

The group of Women in Solar participants and GRID staff smiling and posing with GRID Alternatives banner in El Platanal
GRID Alternatives 5th Women in Solar Nicaragua Cohort!

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