What: Our Solar Power! Project launched in 2009 in collaboration with the Barefoot College in India, and it aims to address the issue of limited access to electricity by empowering rural communities across Africa with the skills to provide low-cost and sustainable electricity for themselves.
Why: Many rural communities with which we partner are not connected to their country’s electrical infrastructure. Without access to electricity community members’ productivity is limited by the hours of daylight.
How: Through the Solar Power! Project, we sponsor women from rural Africa to attend the Barefoot College in India, where they complete a six-month training program in solar electrical engineering. The comprehensive training provides participants with the knowledge and skills to install, maintain, and repair solar panels.
Back in their home villages, each solar engineer installs one solar unit in at least 50 homes, providing each family with a fixed lamp, a bright solar lantern, an LED flashlight, and a plug for charging mobile phones.
Each participant also trains women from neighboring rural communities in solar electrical engineering, spreading the impact of the program and providing each engineer with a means of income.
Who: We currently have trained female solar engineers who are bringing electricity and opportunities for community development to their villages in Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal.
Impact & Sustainability: The Solar Power! Project provides rural communities with access to a clean and renewable energy source, allowing for greater environmental sustainability. The project also allows women to emerge as leaders and entrepreneurs in their communities. Through their training, they build a marketable skill set and the ability to share their knowledge with others.