ADB-supported solar power projects in Indonesia are creating jobs for Lombok women. Vena Energy, Asia-Pacific’s leading renewable independent power producer and ADB's private sector partner for these projects, is building the capacity of its local workforce through skills training and certification. Here's the story of Fatma Mulyana, one of the women trainees who joined Vena Energy as staff in its Lombok Island power station. Fatma shares her experiences and aspirations as one of the few women workers in the renewable energy sector.

Related video

Learn more about how ADB supports the integration of strong gender and development initiatives into its solar power projects in Eastern Indonesia. Watch: Power and Empower: Improving Lombok Women's Lives by Investing in Clean Energy

Transcript

Lombok Island, Indonesia – Fatma Mulyana, Vena Energy staff, shares "Working in a company that produces renewable and clean energy for Indonesia and its people is something I am very proud of. In early 2018 Vena Energy offered a training opportunity. I registered because I was interested to learn a new skill. And because of that training I gained new friends and eventually landed me the job that I have until now here at Vena Energy."

Vena Energy, Asia-Pacific’s leading renewable independent power producer, is operating three 7 MW solar power plants at Lombok Island. These solar projects and a 21 MW solar power plant in Likupang, North Sulawesi are Indonesia’s first-ever utility-scale solar PV plants. ADB and its development partners supported these projects with a financing package totaling 40.2 million US dollars. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), women make up only about 32% of workers in the renewable energy industry. They are also less represented in technical roles.

To build the capacity of its local workforce, Vena Energy provides training and certification in solar energy-related job skills. It particularly encourages women’s participation to strengthen their skills and knowledge in renewable energy. Fatma is one of the women trainees who joined Vena Energy’s operations and maintenance team in Lombok.

"At the beginning of the training, I was a bit intimidated because the participants were dominantly male, women trainees like me were not common. And we, women, tried to adjust and adapt with the male trainees. But I was motivated to finish the training because of the benefits of working in a good company located in my own village. It would keep me close to my family. I now work with the operations and maintenance division at this solar farm in Sengkol, Lombok. 

At first, I have to adapt to the work condition, as women’s physical condition is different from men’s fieldwork is sometimes more demanding for me. But, with the support and encouragement from my husband, I was able to overcome my hesitations. Learning the same skills as my colleagues, I eventually realized that there is not much difference to what we can do. And we have a solid team here. Even though very few women work on this site, we support and respect each other. The rest of the team always encourages me to work and do my best."

Fatma aspires to build her career in Vena Energy and visit other solar farms in Indonesia and other countries. She also aims to continuously improve her skills and share her knowledge with future workers in her company.

Financing renewable projects can provide direct economic benefits to women through jobs. It can also improve lives by helping them start small-scale enterprises and develop their skills through training. ADB is committed to strengthen and support gender development initiatives in renewable energy projects across Asia and the Pacific.

"I always try to do my best in my chosen field and learn new skills when there’s an opportunity. I think that’s the way to thrive in this male-dominated industry. So, to other girls and women like me, anywhere we may be, never limit ourselves. Grab the opportunity when it is right in front of you," Fatma concludes.

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