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Congratulations to Malawi’s Barefoot Solar Engineers

By Wayan Vota on June 9, 2010

At the Africa Energy Awards 2010, the Barefoot Solar Engineers of Malawi won the Best Rural Electrification Project category, highlighting their positive impact on rural communities.

But they don’t need a fancy award ceremony in South Africa to confirm their life-changing program that starts with a short training at the Barefoot College in India. Just watch this video:

As Clement Nyirenda explains, they are improving living conditions in many ways already:

The installation of solar electricity in these households has contributed greatly to the improvement of people’s livelihoods. The day for most of these households no longer ends at dusk, but like all of us privileged to have electricity, they now have a choice. School-going children are now able to study and do their homework even at night.

Availability of solar electricity has also enabled the households to save money, which they used to spend on buying other sources of lighting e.g. paraffin, candles. The money thus saved will go a long way in enabling the households to access the various other important needs for their households.

The fact that women, who used to be ordinary mothers in the village, are in the forefront of changing their communities shows that gender dynamics have changed in the villages.This will be a source of inspiration for many young Malawian women who are engaging in career paths that traditionally associated with men.

We’ve highlighted the Barefoot Solar Engineer program before. I can only hope it expands across Malawi and other countries in Africa too.

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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One Comment to “Congratulations to Malawi’s Barefoot Solar Engineers”

  1. Clement says:

    Wayan, this is a very inspiring story. I have been following the work of the Barefoot College in India since last year. The lessons mentioned in this video are very important. It will great if colleges similar to the Barefoot College in India can be opened in Africa. It will help to ensure that more women are empowered with these skills.