Barefoot Solar in Sierra Leone

I just came across these videos on grassroots solar electrification projects in Africa and India. Trained in India for 6 months, local women return home with the skills and materials needed to electrify their own villages. They are what is known as Barefoot Solar Engineers, and are part of a larger program run by by the Barefoot College in India.

"Any illiterate woman - including women who have never left their villages - from any part of Africa can be trained to be a confident and compitent solar engineer."

These are largely illiterate women, grandmothers often, who can do work most people would have though impossible. Buying kerosean in little quanties at a time, poor communities like these spend a much bigger proportion of their income on energy than their wealthier neighbours. By installing renewables these women free up both the time and money that would otherwise have gone to getting fuel, and give their communities the independance that comes from managing their own energy supplies.

The first video travels from Gambia to Tanzania to look at the Barefoot College's solar electrification programs across Africa. I thought their argument for training women rather than men was particularly intersting: After being trained, women return to their villages and use their skills to increase the community's living conditions. Men, by contrast, generally leave for the city to try to turn their new credentials into a paying job.

Earlier posts on renewable energy and energy poverty here. And two related videos from specific communities after the jump.


1 Response to "Barefoot Solar in Sierra Leone"

Blogger said... 29 January 2017 at 00:05

There is a chance you are qualified for a new government solar energy program.
Discover if you qualify now!


This is a blog for news and views on the future of sustainable cites. A major revamp is in the works. Until then I am keeping this version up as an archive of my past writing.

You can expect occasional updates, but not with the same frequency as in the past.

You can also find my writing on urban redesign and sustainability in ReNew Canada, The Mark, Sustainable Cities Canada, WorldChanging, and other more specialized academic publications.

Info on my consulting work, c.v. and current research focus is all here.