Collaborative partnerships are proving to create compounded impacts, for the benefit of a multitude of projects’ host communities, across provinces that comprise the country’s renewable energy map. As demonstrated repeatedly, partners working together to share expertise, resources, and responsibility for achieving common goals is far more effective than results from an agency alone.
This is demonstrated by a programme aimed at ending period-poverty, implemented by EIMS Africa’s project companies’ together with the MENstruation Foundation and in one instance a community Trust Company. This gainful impact will go a long way to help boost school attendance for thousands of girls and increase the awareness of related issues, with the provision of access to free sanitary products.
“As part of our strategy to develop communities, our programmes are simultaneously aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals to ensure that we are indeed impacting the most vulnerable communities adequately and effectively. Our largest investment is made within the Education sector and this programme fits right into it,” said Veronique Isaacs, Community Operations Officer at EIMS Africa.
This MENstruation Foundation initiative has been implemented at Umoya Energy Wind Farm and Aurora-Rietvlei Solar located on the West Coast of the Western Cape; Cookhouse Wind Farm, situated directly outside the town of Cookhouse, in the Eastern Cape; and REISA Solar, one of South Africa’s largest solar power plants in the Northern Cape, in partnership with the Kathu Solar Community Trust.
Across these three provinces, 19 schools and a small community library have received the Sanitary Pad Vending Machines, catering to the needs of well over 4 000 young women.
“Quality Education (SDG 4); Gender Equality (SDG 5); and Reduced Inequalities (SDG 10) are three of the Goals that we are addressing through this programme. Period poverty is a major problem globally, especially in third world countries, and has a massive impact on the dignity, education and work productivity of many young girls in our schools. If we can keep more girls in the classroom, learning, completing matric and going on to tertiary institutions as strong young adults, we would have won a large portion of the war on poverty. Education is critical in achieving this mandate,” added Isaacs.
As the first in the renewable energy industry to pilot this highly impactful project, which has the benefit of using locally manufactured and eco-friendly personal hygiene products, there is an added advantage of working together with the MENstruation Foundation, as its vision is passionately driven by celebrity Siv Ngesi.
Considering the enormous potential to make a big impact on the lives of thousands of girls, plans are in place to roll this programme out across EIMS Africa’s nine other project companies, which are spread across five provinces.
“It is our intention to share best practice with the rest of industry, as we acknowledge that we are not in the war on poverty alone. By encouraging our industry to follow suit and through our partnership with like-minded organizations who understand our vision for our local communities, we can ensure scalable impact. For this we are grateful and proud to have a partner like MENstruation Foundation,” concluded Isaacs.