1WeServ: Women Empowerment for Solar Electrification of Rural Villages

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Women Empowerment for Solar Electrification of Rural Villages (Solar Mamas), aims to bring solar power to remote villages in Jordan’s Eastern Desert. WeServ seeks to transform Bedouin women to become economically empowered and to educate them on assembly, installation, and maintenance of solar PV cells. To do so, the program sent 2 women to the Barefoot College in India to learn how to work with solar energy. Umm Gomar and Umm Badr—have successfully concluded the 6 month training at Barefoot College. Since they returned to their village of Manshiat Al-Ghayath in the eastern desert, which lays about 260 Km from Amman, they have assembled and installed PV systems bringing clean solar energy to 80 homes.

The benefits of such a program do not stop at simply increasing the amount of clean energy available to the village: they also include raising awareness about both the importance of global climate change and the power of creating change and empowerment. Plans are in place to increase the energy independence of Al-Ghayath by building a training center in the town itself. Courses on solar energy and technical training will be run by Umm Gomar and Umm Badr, and eventually the center itself will be able to produce solar PV fixtures and devices using solar energy and thereby increase employment in the village.

The effects on the village society are undeniable as well: by empowering grandmothers and mothers, this innovative program has helped to shift the village’s view of elderly women, showing that even illiterate and semiliterate women can be empowered to contribute in significant ways to their communities. In choosing to focus on women (who will not leave their homes for a city job after the acquisition of such skills as men might), Solar Mamas has proven that it is possible to help the poor and underprivileged in a society to raise themselves out of poverty and discrimination.

To find out more about the GLOBE Program, please visit their website at: www.solarmamasjo.org

2GLOBE: Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment

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The Globe Program is a world-wide program focusing on hands-on learning and online networking between students and educators in schools and universities worldwide. Launched by NASA scientists in 1994, the GLOBE program now includes over 25000 schools in 112 countries; 5 of these schools are in Jordan. GLOBE provides opportunities to students and educators for experimentation, allowing them to take scientifically valid measurements in the field, training at professional development workshops, and using the interactive website to create analytical maps and graphs and to collaborate with students and scientists around the world.

The GLOBE program in Jordan was entrusted to JoFoE after a 1996 agreement between the Jordanian Government’s Ministry of Rural, Municipal, and Environmental Affairs and the U.S. Government’s National Administration of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. Since GLOBE’s entrustment to JoFoE, the Society has been implementing learning activities such as camps, training workshops, field trips, web chats, video conferences, and scientific research at local, regional, and global levels. JoFoE is currently working to establish a school-university network to encourage students and educators to work together on research projects. In 2012 Jordan was designated by the GLOBE headquarters as the regional office which covers 13 Near East & North African countries.

To find out more about the GLOBE Program, please visit their website at: www.globe.gov

3EDSS: Environmental Drawing Competition for School Students.

EDSS provides a unique opportunity for students under the age of 15 to think about environmental issues and express themselves through an annual drawing contest. Students depict the environments in which they live, and the best drawings are featured in a calendar published by JoFoE.