Monday, May 30, 2011

The Barefoot Solar Engineers of Africa

The Awesome Women of the Day are the "Barefoot Solar Engineers", women who left their African villages to spend six months at Barefoot University in India learning to create solar energy installations to power their villages. They brought their skills home, electrified their villages, and share their knowledge with others.

From the video narration:
This is about simple women in Africa who have made an extraordinary difference to their own communities, from Ethiopia to the Gambi, from Mauritania to Tanzania, a quiet revolution is taking place. Illiterate & semi-literate women, most of them grandmothers who have never left their villages in their lives, let alone going to another country several thousand miles away, they are making the impossible possible. They are baffling high-powered engineers, universities, donors, development planners and qualified experts by demonstrating incredible sophisticated skills and exposing the fundamental inadequacies of the formal educational system.

And a special shout-out to the woman who birthed and raised Sanjit “Bunker” Roy -- a man who recognizes that the best candidates for his project are women because of their superior patience and natural motivation to share what they have learned with their communities. Roy's Barefoot College has trained more than 3 million people for jobs in a bottom-up, social entrepreneurship approach to fight poverty and deprivation.

AWU post & comments at