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 ever woman to head a renewable energy company in Moldova. Photo: Mihai Maciuca/UNDP Moldova

Ludmila Abramciuc is the first ever woman 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.

Benefiting from 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.

Highlights

  • Approximately 7,000 people, of whom 80% are women employed as managers, teachers or civil servants, benefit from better working conditions and improved heating comfort in rural public institutions.
  • Modern biomass heating systems are being installed in 138 public buildings, such as schools, kindergartens, community centres.
  • 3,873 representatives of the local public administration and local leaders, 286 suppliers of biomass fuels and 240 operators have got knowledge and new abilities regarding the modern technologies of production and usage of biomass to produce heat.

When Ludmila founded the company in 2008, she already benefited from many years of hands-on experience in the recycling industry, and 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.

Establishing “Ecobricheta”, 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 than women. In spite of this, their doubts vanished the moment they realised they are talking to a professional.”

And the company has quickly proved its efficiency and sustainability on the Moldovan Energy Market. Through its programmes, the Energy and Biomass Project hopes to assist other entrepreneurs like Ludmila, contributing not just to the achievement of national targets set by the Moldovan authorities in terms of reducing the country’s energy dependence, but also to promote 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.”

According to project data, around 7,000 people, of whom 80% are women employed as managers, teachers or civil servants, benefit from better working conditions and improved heating comfort in rural public institutions throughout Moldova.

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.