Women Engage for a Common Future International
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WECF, Women Engage for a Common Future, is a global network of a 150 women's, health and environmental organisations in 50 countries, with a historical focus on Eastern Europe and Central Asia. WECF's philosophy of enabling local project partners and network members to implement sustainable projects together, to share experiences within the network and to learn from each other, soon proved to be successful. Today, WECF's expertise is well-known internationally and used by partner organisations in both Africa and Latin America. WECF develops and demonstrates innovative solutions for sustainable development that are adjusted to the local culture, market and climate, based on local needs, and bring lessons learned from the field to policy makers and into regional policy processes. Serious inequalities persist in both Europe and the EECCA countries (Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia), in terms of health, pollution, social, economic and gender inequalities. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the new republics faced many problems and also today many challenges persist in the new EU member states and neighbouring countries. Health problems and poverty and a disintegration of basic services and lack of environmental resource management are particularly problematic in rural low-income areas.
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Switch to Sun - Live in Comfort! Building Local Capacity for Domestic Solar Heating, Hot Water and Insulation for Rural and Remote Areas of the EEC Region’ is an energy project of WECF that aims to improve living conditions in very poor and rural communities in many countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asiathrough implementation of sustainable energy solutions. In this region, locals have to cope with very poor heating conditions during the cold winters. Moreover, the EECCA-region is known for having low energy efficiency, both in production as well as consumption of energy. Ukraine, for example, has the second highest per capita energy consumption in the world. WECF and its partner organizations are convinced there is a huge potential for the development of sustainable energy solutions in this region. Solar technologies can play a key role in empowering women. Due to women’s traditional roles in housekeeping they usually use much more hot water than other members of a family, e.g. women use an average of 83 liters per day vs. men at 34 liters per day. By making access to hot water easier for women, their labour burden decreases. WECF promotes a simple model of a solar water heater (also called solar collector), which can fully cover warm water needs of a household. This model doesn’t need any pumps or other electric devices and can be easily constructed by local people with simple materials available at local markets. The solar collector can be used in winter.
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