MARABUT, Samar, 27 October 2018 – Women leaders of Marabut lit the way for one hundred residents of this coastal town this afternoon by deploying solar-powered lights and charging devices during their evacuation drill at the Marabut municipal hall.

They facilitated the typhoon and storm surge drill with the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, RE-Serve Humanitarian Corps, Marabut Women’s Federation, and Marabut Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) in commemoration of the fifth anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) on November 8.

Twenty participants from Marabut and Tacloban were trained as Solar Scholars by a pool of women, most of whom are members of the RE-Serve Humanitarian Corps. They were taught to use TekPaks – portable solar-powered devices designed and built by Yolanda survivors – to power LED lights, mobile phones, and medical devices in times of emergencies. At the end of the drill, ICSC turned over a TekPak to Solar Scholars from the Marabut Women’s Federation.

“Women have an important role in lighting up our homes and our communities. We have proven in our organization that solar power is useful not only in times of disasters like Yolanda but even in everyday life,” said Lorna dela Peña, president of the Marabut Women’s Federation. A previous Solar Scholar trainee, she was one of the facilitators of this week’s training held at the Marabut MDRRMO building.

“Houses in upland areas with no electricity still heavily rely on their solar lamps, and everyone uses them during brownouts. I wanted to learn more about solar power to help people in my community and I am glad to pass on my knowledge to other women,” she added.

In 2014, ICSC initiated RE-Charge Pilipinas in Tacloban City to spur the integration of renewable energy in disaster risk reduction, towards climate resilience and low carbon development. It implemented the Solar Scholars training program the following year. ICSC has since trained around 250 Solar Scholars from Samar, Leyte, Eastern Samar, Iloilo, Rizal, Laguna, and Cagayan provinces.

ICSC also recently convened the RE-Serve Humanitarian Corps, a volunteer group trained to provide solar power to humanitarian and emergency responders. The Corps are composed of responders from various local government units, humanitarian organizations, and student and other community groups. Two RE-Serve members who are Yolanda survivors led last weekend’s Solar Scholars training of Cagayan locals, over a month after Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) struck the region. ###