Women fuel success in Moldova

Ludmila Abramciuc is the first woman in Moldova managing a briquetting business. Photo: Guram Sakvarelidze/UNDP
Ludmila Abramciuc is the first woman to head a renewable energy company in Moldova. Photo: Mihai Maciuca/UNDP Moldova

Ludmila Abramciuc is the first woman ever to head a renewable energy company in Moldova. In her hometown of Balti, she manages a thriving biomass fuel briquette business – “Ecobricheta” – that has greatly expanded recently with support from a programme funded by the European Union and implemented and co-financed by UNDP. Through assistance from the Energy and Biomass Project, as well as the Energy Efficiency Agency, Ludmila’s business has recently increased its output threefold.

Taking advantage of the programme’s leasing mechanism for high-performance briquette production equipment, Echobricheta went from producing 90 tonnes of briquettes per month to more than 300 tonnes, enough to heat five schools and kindergartens during the winter months.

When Ludmila founded the company in 2008, she already benefited from many years of hands-on experience in the recycling industry. It was this professional know-how, combined with a firm belief in the renewable energy field, that finally led to the creation of a business that today is flourishing.

“Nothing should be discarded, everything needs to be recycled”, says Ludmila.

Highlights

  • Modern biomass heating systems are being installed in 143 public buildings, such as schools, kindergartens, community centres.
  • More than 89,000 people, including 26,519 children, benefit from securely supplied energy and more heating comfort.
  • 5,590 local leaders, 492 suppliers of biomass fuels and 432 operators have gained knowledge and skills in modern technologies for production and usage of biomass heating.

Establishing Echobricheta, which uses byproducts of the cereal and forestry industries to produce the fuel briquettes, was not without challenges though, Ludmila admits. Not least of these was her decision to establish a business in a sector historically dominated by men.

“At the beginning, my business partners, and even my employees, regarded me somewhat suspiciously”, Ludmila recalls. “They probably doubted whether I could ‘make it’ in the energy field, where one encounters mostly men. In spite of this, their doubts vanished the moment they realised they are talking to a professional.”

The company has quickly proved its efficiency and sustainability on the Moldovan Energy Market. Through its programmes, the Energy and Biomass Project aims to assist other entrepreneurs like Ludmila, contributing to the achievement of national targets set by the Moldovan authorities in terms of reducing the country’s energy dependence, but also to promoting the economic and civic participation of women as widely as possible.

Victoria Ignat, gender focal point and training specialist with the project, explains: ”The experience of the Energy and Biomass Project shows that women play an important role in the decision making processes associated with the implementation of biomass heating projects in beneficiary communities.”

As a result of the joint efforts, more than 89,000 people, including 26,519 children, benefit from securely supplied energy and more heating comfort.

Meanwhile, in Balti, Ludmila’s endeavours have not gone un-recognised. She was recently awarded for her successes as a champion in the renewable energy field at the “Moldova Eco-Energetica” Gala, organised by the Ministry of Economy and Energy Efficiency Agency with support from the Energy and Biomass project.

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