Desertification
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“A few years ago, climate change was considered gender-neutral, which works on climate issues,” states Naoko Ishii, chief executive of the non-profit Global Environment Facility.

"But when we did a gender analysis, gender neutral actually mean gender-ignorant,” Ishii added.

To this end, in recognising the connection between women's rights and climate change, Greenpeace has been working on multiple solar energy projects that assist women at community levels to implement simple, effective and affordable sustainable solutions in rural areas in developing countries, IPS News Agency reported.

Climate change effects

"We believe women are the most affected by climate change and, when empowered, can be positive agents of change in the path towards a sustainable world powered by 100% renewable energy," says Ghalia Fayad, the Arab World programme leader for Greenpeace Mediterranean.

The NGO has supported adapting solar systems to replace the costly, previously used diesel generators in several primarily women-run cooperates in Morocco. Read more...

"The benefits of solar energy meant they increased their business's productivity, allowing them to think about expanding further and setting up new food production outlets," Fayad said.

Greenpeace is also currently running solar cooking training sessions that showcase the potential of solar energy as an alternative to coal, wood and butane gas to women in rural areas.

New opportunities

Earlier this year, the NGO also collaborated with Deir Kanoun Ras el Ain, a 23 women strong cooperative in South Lebanon, Middle East, that produces artisan food to launch a crowd funding project to install solar power to heat water and power machines.

"I can feel that everything is about to change for us," said Daad Ismail, President of the women's cooperative.

"Electricity shortages have hurt our productivity, our working hours and our personal lives. We know that solar energy will not only help us to cut bills, generate more income and improve our lives, but it will also broaden our horizons with new opportunities."

The cooperative now has 12 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, with a total peak production capacity of 3 kilowatts.

"Women generally are often most connected to their communities and family, which gives them a unique potential to contribute to create real and lasting change," Fayad noted.