From where I stand: “Access to renewable energy is critical to women’s well-being”
Marieta Letodiani, a 45-year-old teacher and project coordinator for the non-governmental organization “Green Regions”, works on the promotion of renewable energy. In addition to raising awareness, the organization also implements model projects and helps people to experience the goodness of renewable energy in their everyday life. Marieta is one of the women who took part in the project “17 Faces of Action” from Georgia.
“Since 2008, I have been working on the promotion of renewable energy in western Georgia, in the regions of Imereti and Samegrelo. Through information campaigns, advocacy and the implementation of model projects, I try to make as many people as possible understand how important it is to use this opportunity.
I am glad that through my work, solar water heaters and energy-efficient stoves were installed in family homes and kindergartens in villages where natural gas is not supplied and where most of the population still uses firewood. The locals have learned how to heat their homes easily, how to make a solar water heater with their own hands, and how to save energy in this way.
In recent years, the public’s attitude towards the use of renewable energy has changed significantly: more questions are now being asked about the challenges, and the consequences are being understood. The interest of women is especially great: those who live in highland villages often tell me that in winter, they have to wash dishes and do laundry with cold water, which not only makes their work harder but also causes health problems.
This is why access to renewable energy is critical to women’s well-being. It is their best opportunity to alleviate the burden of unpaid family work, which is mostly being done by them, and to use their freed time for their own educational or professional development, in order to improve their difficult living conditions. This, in turn, will later have a positive impact on their health, on the elimination of poverty and hunger, on environmental protection and on reducing inequality.
However, widespread deployment of renewable energy sources remains a challenge. I think that in order to increase their availability, it is necessary to simplify the financial side. For example, granting preferential credits for the purchase of devices will further increase people’s motivation, and it will give women the opportunity to become ambassadors of renewable energy by their own example.”
The initiative “17 Faces of Action” serves to promote the contribution of women in the process of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is a project of the United Nations Office at Geneva and its representative, Director-General Tatiana Valovaya, as well as the Association of Swiss Women and Empowerment. In Georgia, the project was implemented in cooperation with the United Nations Country Team and with the technical support of UN Women. Marieta Letodiani’s activities make a significant contribution to the achievement of SDG 7, which involves universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy.