Barefoot College Solar Electrification with Enriched Education

About the Project

This project is one of the 2020 WISE Awards winners. 

The Call for Applications for the 2021 WISE Awards is now open.
Apply by December 20, 2020.

Barefoot’s approach to education makes education sustainable and accessible for all, irrespective of geographic location, language, or literacy. We make education a reality by improving factors that impinge on education in extremely rural and remote parts of the world, where traditional grid infrastructure and classroom education simply are not feasible, and which often in consequence are left behind by surrounding regions and by their local and national governments in terms of development. We use a literacy-optional, language-independent sign-language and color-coding curriculum called ENRICHE to teach digital and financial literacy, civil and human rights, health and microenterprise production, with vocational and educational elements that can be added on according to the customized needs of each community we work with. The first step our program takes is to train women from a remote community in ENRICHE, and as fully-fledged solar engineers. We then provide them with the tools to solar electrify their communities, which in turn allows them access to clean water and sanitation – vital for girls and women wishing to be educated after puberty – and time and light to work after dark. Once these pressures on the ability of people to be educated are removed, ENRICHE can be scaled across the entire remote community according to its needs, leading to the founding of businesses, and the monetization of local skills that were previously only regarded as useful, such as basket-weaving and fish net repair. The impact of this program is huge. It spreads knowledge quickly and without time intensive literacy training. It improves lives, generates stable income, and provides clear evidence for why women should be treated equally in a community, and why all children should be educated. Ultimately this approach is made sustainable and self-renewing by the security of renewable energy and stable income arising from small local businesses.

October 13, 2020 (last update 11-13-2020)