The winner of the Zonta Club of Melbourne on Yarra‘s pilot Women Taking Climate Action Award 2021 is Margaret Hender from South Australia.
Margaret is the creator of CORENA (Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia) – Australia’s first solar revolving fund. The idea of CORENA was conceived when Margaret was on the ‘walk for solar’ from Port Augusta to Adelaide in 2012.
What is a revolving fund? CORENA uses donations to provide interest-free loans to small not-for-profit organisations to install solar, invest in energy efficiency, get off gas, or purchase electric vehicles. Repayments are used to fund further projects.
So far, CORENA has successfully loaned $800,000 to fund 44 projects, generating almost $200,000 in savings for the not-for-profits. CORENA loans have helped many child care centres, specialist schools, housing associations for the disabled and community resource centres throughout Australia.
Many women involved in not-for-profit organisations are daunted making investment decisions related to energy – which is still a very male-dominated industry. CORENA’s key positions are all held by women and they are able to offer independent technical advice and support.
The pilot Women Taking Climate Action Award was developed by the Zonta Club of Melbourne-on-Yarra to acknowledge women who are taking innovative climate action that engages with women.
Funding for the $1,000 award was raised through a Climate Action webinar with inspirational guest speaker, Natalie Isaacs, the CEO of 1 Million Women.
The Award was open to any woman living in District 23 (Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia). The judges were Suzanne Lees and Dr Jasmine Schuijers from the Zonta Club of Melbourne on Yarra and Carole Theobald from the Zonta Club of Perth who is the convenor of Zonta Says NOW to Gender Equality and Climate Action.
Competition for the award was very strong and judging was complicated by the diverse range of activities and experience levels of applicants. Applicants will be invited to speak at club and Zonta Says NOW meetings to share their work and passion. Knowledge gained from the pilot will be valuable to review the criteria for future years.
If you and/or your Zonta Club is interested in becoming involved with Zonta Says NOW, and/or supporting the Climate Action Award, please contact Carole Theobald via firstname.lastname@example.org.