Commencing our day with ground coffee from Benguet, chocolate moron from Abuyog, and puto cheese from Tacloban, the ladies of PKKK (Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan) communities in Basey and Marabut Samar arrived at the RE-Charge facility morning of September 4. They were the second batch of our Solar Scholars basic training program. Sitting in for the first day of training were our RE-Charge Staff and representatives from the Tacloban City Police Office.
The day started with a brief introduction of iCSC and the RE-Charge Tacloban initiative followed by introduction of the participants and expectations checking. Many of them were looking forward to learning about solar energy and admitting that their only exposure to the technology was during the influx of portable solar lamps that were either donated or bought after the supertyphoon. To add to the introduction part of the program, the solar scholars were toured around the facility starting from the upcycled shipping containers, heroes’ wall, Hybrid PV electrical control room, E-jeepney motorpool, sleeping quarters made of upcycled art and furnishings, and the Kanlaon Hall.
I started the classroom discussions on Energy Fundamentals and the Science of Energy Generation where many were thrilled upon knowing that the sun can provide energy more than 1400 times what we actually need. I have also showed them that contrary to what they perceive that photovoltaic or solar panels use the sun’s heat, it is actually the light component that it uses to produce electricity.
After a hearty lunch, Glinly explained to them how a PV system works including its parts and relating them to the RE-Charge TekPak. They were excited to be up close to such a small but powerful power station that defies their common misconceptions about electricity.
Uro described to them what climate change really is and how it impacts Eastern Visayas and the rest of the country and the world. He showed them how climate change can affect our production of coffee, chocolates, and corn products. This was then followed by DRR discussions where they were asked to draw their communities and identify the hazards everyone is faced with.
iCSC first launched the Solar Scholars training May of this year in hopes of elevating the literacy of people on renewable energy and how this is vital in disaster response. As we gradually extend our scope and open our doors to partners focusing on specific aspects of advocacy, we ourselves continue to become better. The chance to be part of PKKK’s engagement with Haiyan affected communities made us look at our training module from a gender specific lens. We, too, as trainers and resource persons of Solar Scholars continue to grow and adapt to the needs of the communities and the participants.