Women Empowering Women Frontliners on Disaster Preparedness and Response:

Women-led Solar Scholars Training Experience of RE-Charge Pilipinas and the Marabut Women’s Federation in Samar Province, Eastern Visayas

Authors: Maria Golda P. Hilario, Orlando Quesada, Arturo Tahup, Lorna Ortillo dela Peña, Azucena Bagunas, Arielle Celine Tabinga

In November 2013, Supertyphoon Haiyan swept the central part of the Philippines which claimed more than 5,000 lives, and left behind swathes of destruction to ecosystem, infrastructure, livelihoods and properties. The lack of energy hampered post disaster emergency and rehabilitation efforts of humanitarian actors given that the super typhoon also toppled power infrastructures needed for the provision of life-saving services i.e. WASH, food, shelter and protection and communication to affected populations.

The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC)’s RE-Charge Pilipinas implemented the Access to Better Energy (ABE) initiative to assist disaster-affected communities in Eastern Visayas region with readily available energy access from one of the most common sources of renewable energy – solar power. We observed that the lack of access to energy adversely affected the most vulnerable – women and girls, PWDs and the elderly, and noted the capacity gap of missing out on women as energy managers in energy provision -related interventions.

In October 2018, ICSC initiated the first Women-Led Solar Scholars Training in Marabut, Samar Province in partnership with the Municipal Government of Marabut and the Marabut Women’s Federation (MWF), the umbrella group of different women’s groups and associations in the municipality.

The pilot Women-Led Solar Scholars Training trained 36 women-members of MWF and 8 male community responders in the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Office of the Marabut, Samar run by six all-women teams who were alumni of previous solar scholars’ trainings. The pilot women-led Solar Scholars Training in Marabut successfully mobilized community residents of Barangay Amantillo, Marabut to review their community contingency plan to integrate renewable energy in disaster response strategy, and raised awareness of the empowering role of women as community humanitarian energy responders.