Vocational Training for Energy Access: Impacts and Lessons Learned from Developing Countries (Webinar)

19 April 2016

The Clean Energy Solutions Center, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation’s Energy Access Practitioner Network and the Arizona State University, hosted this webinar on the role of training programs for the long-term sustainability of renewable energy projects relevant to energy access.

The webinar introduced the Vocational Training and Education for Clean Energy (VOCTEC) program, which is led by Arizona State University with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). VOCTEC aims to improve the sustainability of renewable energy infrastructure and investments in developing countries by increasing awareness, knowledge and capacity of local stakeholders, primarily in decentralized clean energy technologies.

Webinar panelists discussed other training programs and highlighted the importance of such programs in developing countries, sharing learning outcomes particularly from trainings focusing on women.

  • Luc Severi, Project Manager, Energy Access, United Nations Foundation, will provide an overview of the UN Foundation’s work on scaling energy access in developing countries through its 2,000+ member strong Energy Access Practitioner Network.
  • Dr. Rim Razzouk, Senior Instructional Designer, Arizona State University, will introduce the curriculum development and the assessment and evaluation processes for the VOCTEC program.
  • Carol Weis, IREC Master PV Trainer and NABCEP PV installer, will co-present the VOCTEC program and share broader lessons learned, best practices and real-world experience from solar electric trainings she has done, in particular all-women trainings.
  • Dr. Laura Stachel, Co-Founder and Executive Director, We Care Solar, will discuss the evolution and impact of solar trainings in the context of We Care Solar’s work on maternal healthcare, including its Women’s Solar Ambassador program.
  • Rachel Mahmud, Gender Associate, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, an initiative of the United Nations Foundation, will provide an overview of the Alliance’s gender capacity building tools and resources used to enhance the impact of clean cookstove and fuel enterprises, including the Empowered Entrepreneur Training Handbook.

The presentations will be followed by an interactive question and answer session with the audience.


Luc SeveriLuc Severi, Project Manager for Energy Access, United Nations Foundation

Luc Severi is currently working as a Project Manager on UN Foundation’s energy access activities, in particular in the health sector under the High Impact Opportunity ‘Energy for Women’s and Children’s Health’. Luc’s academic background is both commercial and social, holding a Master’s in Commercial Engineering from KULeuven and an MSc Development Management from the London School of Economics. Prior to starting his current work with UNF, Luc worked in Mozambique, Senegal, and Liberia, for several international NGOs and social enterprises, including SolarNow and Save the Children International. Throughout his career, Luc has been an active participant in the green and circular economy, working primarily with renewable energy solutions for off-grid and rural households, schools, and health centres.

Rim RazzoukDr. Rim Razzouk, Senior Instructional Designer, Arizona State University

Rim Razzouk is a Senior Instructional Designer at . In her current position, Rim leads the curriculum development and the assessment and evaluation processes for the VOCTEC (Vocational Training and Education for Clean Energy) project. She is also responsible for the data analyses and the write up of research reports for the purpose of continuous curriculum improvement. Rim has a PhD in Instructional Systems from the Florida State University (FSU). She also holds an M.Sc degree in Instructional Systems and a Certificate in Human Performance Technology from FSU, and a B.Sc in Information Technology from Notre Dame University, Lebanon. Prior to joining ASU, she was a director of assessment and evaluation and held various instructional design and teaching positions in academia and industry in the Middle East and the U.S.

Carol WeisCarol Weis, IREC Master PV Training and NABCEP PV Installer

Carol Weis has worked as a solar electric instructor and consultant in the US and internationally teaching coed and women-only classes since 1998. Her work has included projects in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central America. She also specializes in developing curriculum for solar manufacturers and training organizations to increase the number of qualified workforce technicians in a rapidly expanding solar industry. She is an IREC Certified Master Trainer TM, has her PV Installer Certification in North America and has worked as a licensed electrician and solar installer in the United States.

Laura StachelDr. Laura Stachel, Co-Founder and Executive Director, We Care Solar

Dr. Laura Stachel, co-founder and executive director of We Care Solar, is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with fourteen years of clinical experience. She holds an M.D. from University of California, San Francisco and an M.P.H. in Maternal and Child Health from University of California, Berkeley. Her research on maternal mortality in Nigeria in 2008 alerted her to the deleterious effects of energy poverty on maternal health outcomes. Laura is a champion for sustainable energy solutions for women’s health and speaks around the world on this topic. She has been active in the UN Foundation’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative and co-chairs a Working Group on Energy and Health. Laura was one of the Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2013. For her work with We Care Solar, Laura received the 2015 Haas International Business Development Alumni of the Year Award, the 2015 UCSF Alumni Excellence Award, the 2015 UBS Optimus Award, the 2014 Katerva Sustainability Gender Equity Award, the 2013 Oberlin Alumni Distinguished Service Award, the 2012 U.S. Department of Energy and MIT Clean Energy, Education and Empowerment Award, the 2012 United Nations Association Global Citizens Award, and the 2010 UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Award for Civic Engagement. Most recently, Laura spoke at the United Nations when We Care Solar received the inaugural 2015 UN DESA “Powering the Future We Want” $1,000,000 award, presented by General Ban Ki-Moon.

Rachel MahmudRachel Mahmud, Gender Associate, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves

Rachel Mahmud is the Gender Associate for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, an initiative of the United Nations Foundation. She is responsible for managing $500,000 in grants that support women’s empowerment and youth awareness-raising in the clean cooking sector. She also supports the design and management of the Alliance’s gender programming. Previously, she worked at ACDI/VOCA as a project coordinator for enterprise development programs in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. She served as the coordinator for the gender community of practice, and supported the development and roll-out of a gender mainstreaming training program. Ms. Mahmud holds a B.A. in International Affairs from The George Washington University and speaks French and English.