The Gorilla Organization's three African resource centres are celebrating International Women's Day today, March 8th.
Fittingly, since the theme of the 2012 International Women's Day is 'Inspiring Futures', the global celebration of women's rights and potential comes as the team at the Ruhengeri Resource Centre in Rwanda make arrangements to send a new wave of Solar Sisters (right) over to India. Over the past few weeks, four ladies – two from each of the villages of Hehu and Nyarugina – have been selected by their own communities to take part in the groundbreaking initiative. This means they will spend six months at the Barefoot College in Rajasthan, where they will learn the skills they need to bring power to their home communities for the first time.
The four ladies from Rwanda will be joining two more from Uganda in making the trip across to India this spring. Just recently, staff from the Kisoro Resource Centre travelled to Kagandu, a small village on the edge of the Mgahinga National Park. Here, they worked with the community to select the ladies most suitable for the project. Again, these Solar Sisters will not only be flown over to India and provided with solar engineering training, they will then also enjoy practical and financial support upon their return to Uganda, enabling them to fit solar panels to dozens of houses in their home village and training others in fitting and maintaining the renewable energy technology.
Meanwhile, across the border in DR Congo, the ladies of the Solidarity of Friends of Mountain Gorillas Tsiaberimu (SAGOT) will be also be marking the day. In previous years, the group have celebrated with their own 'Mukokya Parade', in which they show their support for the conservation efforts being carried out by the Gorilla Organization at Mount Tshiaberimu. Additionally, at the nearby Goma Resource Centre, the team will also be marking the special day as they carry on with their work welcoming visitors, assisting students with their research and educating the surrounding communities on the importance of protecting gorillas and their habitat.
"Ladies play such an important role in all of our projects," says Henry Cirhuza, DR Congo programmes manager, who is based in Goma. "The extension of the Solar Sisters project into Rwanda and Uganda is amazing and makes our celebration of International Women's Day even more exciting this time around. These ladies will play a leading role in bringing electricty to hundreds of homes. This means people will be able to benefit from a reliable source of power and so they will have no need to enter the forests where the gorillas live any more."
Follow the latest news from the Gorilla Organization's resource centres on the Gorilla Field Staff blog.