STORY OF INSPIRATION FROM MONASTIR, TUNISIA: GIVING BACK TO THE SOCIETY BY USING CLEAN ENERGY
The Association Voix de l’Enfant (Voice of the Child) in Monastir, Tunisia, founded in January 2007, is a civil society organization that helps to accommodate babies without parental protection and support, and offers support to single mothers. Through donations, the organization presented a ‘Mother-Infant’ complex, composed of a ‘Life-Unit’ as well as a social and professional support center for the women that offers professional support for both the baby and mother. The ‘Life-Unit’ can accommodate 10 babies until the age of 18 months. They are thoroughly cared for 24/7 by the organization’s maternal assistants. When placed in stable families, regular check-ups will be concluded by the staff. They also participate in awareness campaigns to teach the local community about the type of services they provide.
The center offers psychological, socio-educational, legal and professional support. There are numerous workshops to choose from; laundry, sewing and cooking to mention a few. The income generated from the laundry, bakery and nursery workshops is used to fund the different projects and operations of the organization. However, the funds from the workshops are not quite enough to cover the energy and water expenses that goes into the different machines used during the workshops. The amount of water needed to run these machines is extremely high, which has led to the organization creating a special water reserve out of potable tap water.
The MINARET project aims to reduce the energy consumption of the organization through the installment of a 15 kW PV system and by constructing a well. This is a perfect example of gender mainstreaming in the NEXUS approach; where renewable energy technologies can be used to improve social services provided to women and babies. For this intervention, MINARET has agreed with the organization that part of the generated savings are to be used to support the local ‘Birbasha’ women, working in waste management. The Birbasha women make their daily living and support their families by collecting trash around Monastir, then sorting and selling it. More precisely the savings will target the improvement of the women’s work environment and quality of life. This intervention will not only benefit the different vulnerable women of both organizations; however it will also contribute to recycling, use of renewable energy technologies, conservation of energy and water as well as to the access to finance and resources.