The Women, New and Renewable Energy programme was launched following various recommendations pointing to the central role played by women in the production, consumption and management of energy. The programme aims to promote renewable sources of energy through the installation of solar lighting, drying and hot water systems, and multi-functional energy platforms powered by jatropha oil. These platforms are areas where a variety of energy services are accessible, such as for cereal grinding or welding, as well as access to water and electricity.
The programme also comprised a training programme for women in the use of renewable energy systems, and how to manage any revenue generated from the use of these systems.
Implemented by the National Energy Administrations Solar and Renewable Energy Centre, the programme was launched as pilot project between 1992 and 1995, after which it continued till 2001. After this period of time it was decided to further prolong it till 2014.
The project is considered a success, with solar energy and heating systems seen to result in significant savings off energy bills, several hundred people passing through training programmes, and multi-functional energy platforms allowing women to save time and money for other activities. The use of jatropha oil to power the platforms has also resulted in financial savings. The project was thus expanded into the New and Renewable Energy Project for the Advancement of Women (PENRAF), which will expand activity to a further 400 villages, and introduce technologies such as renewable energy-powered water pumping and solar cooking.