Gender has always been a major consideration in the Energy Sector of the Pacific Islands. In the 1990’s, a Pacific Energy Gender Network was coordinated through the Regional Energy Programme hosted by the then SOPAC. Due to funding constraints and staff turnover, the network has been dormant over the years. However, the importance of women and children participating as equal partners on matters and decisions in the energy sector have not been lost. Development partners and PICs have continued to take gender into account in designing and implementing energy projects in the region.
On 22nd June 2018, the Outer Island Renewable Energy Project (OIREP) of the Energy Department under the Ministry of MEIDECC conducted its first Gender Sensitization Training in Renewable Energy at Tonga Power Limited’s (TPL) Conference Room, Neiafu Vava’u.
The training specifically targeted the new recruit line workers of TPL, who is the implementation agency of OIREP’s Phase 3. The phase 3 aims to rehabilitate 60% of the existing network of Vava’u and 100% of the existing network of ‘Eua.
The major sponsor (DFAT) for this implementation joined to observe the training.
Mrs. Jeannette Tu’i’onetoa said that the linewomen have inspired people in the islands that women can go beyond what is expected of them as a woman. Her experience as an ex US military made her understand how hard it is to work in a male dominant working area. She urged them to keep believe in their technical capabilities as equality will open doors.
Miss ‘Oto’ota Hausia, a linewoman trainee said “Bringing in Gender Mainstreaming and Gender Balance into working areas will better improve the whole Energy Sector, as both men and women will cooperate and share responsibilities and opportunities”.
The training also reminded participants that both genders should share equal opportunities and responsibilities.
“I did not realize the need for women to involve in decision making and sharing equal opportunities in Energy sector but the training showed me that women are the ones who do the energy management at the household level. Women’s visualizations should be heard in the Energy Sector,” said Mr. Vilisoni Peleketi, TPL Lineman.
The Global Network of Sustainable Energy Centres (GN-SEC), for which PCREEE is a member, is presently developing a funding proposal on Mainstreaming gender in energy. This is going to be a joint workstream by the GN-SEC and GWNET, the Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition. The 3rd meeting of the PCREEE Steering Committee is planned for November and reactivating the Pacific Energy Gender Network will be part of the meeting agenda.
Front Row (L-R): Tomasi Fakasi’eiki, Jeannette Tu’i’onetoa(DFAT), Esetelelita Fulivai(OIREP), Alaisia Hurrel
Back Row (L-R): Vilisoni Peleketi, Melelini Fa’u, Toatepi Latulala, ‘Oto’ota Hausia
Info on the training can also be found on the MEIDECC's website: http://mic.gov.to/news-today/press-releases/7376-gender-sensitization-in-renewable-energy-training-for-vavaus-line-workers