At the end of 2017, Community Energy Malawi continued their year-on-year training offer with support from The Scottish Government and The University of Strathclyde. 30 technicians were offered ‘refresher training’ delivered in the community.

The continuation training ensures the CEDP renewable energy systems (installed in 2014 in 10 community based organisations around Malawi) are supported by up-to-date technical knowledge, fostered within the community where the installations are situated.

The training manual was developed by CEM and builds upon previous knowledge and provides further engineering knowledge related to renewable energy systems. 28 Malawians took advantage of refresher training on offer.

Of the participants:

  • 25% were female
  • 25 of the participants were returning technicians and 3 were replacements (as identified by the community and CEM together) for missing technicians

What the technicians say…

Feedback from those taking part was fantastic, with all of the participants rated the usefulness of the training at 100% citing that

it has come in handy considering that it was an opportunity for them to seek fresh ideas and knowledge as regards the challenges they encountered while conducting system maintenances and trouble shooting

For further insight into the replaced technicians, out of the 5 previously trained technicians that did not attend:

  • 3 are female and did not attend the training due to pregnancy or relocation from marriage
  • 2 are male and did not attend the training because they had relocated for economic reasons

Loss of knowledge through relocation and/or marriage highlights the difficulty in continuity of community training for renewable energy systems and the need for hand-over material.

 What the communities say…

This feedback is backed-up by other survey work undertaken by CEM in 2017. CEM visited the communities with CEDP systems and asked the system managers

Do you know who your supporting technician is?……if so, have you used the technician?

  • 88% of system managers knew who their supportive technician was
  • 73% of those had used the technician for minor system fixes in the past (noting the majority of systems that did not use a technician, simply did not need the technician yet)

What next?

CEM is keen to continue to support the technicians in future through possible year-on-year refresher training and through scanning for other in-country support and training open to the technicians.