Partner Spotlight: Barefoot College

Lack of access to energy, water, education, and dignified livelihoods impedes the financial empowerment of women, in turn tightening poverty’s grip on entire communities.

Over the last 40+ years, the Barefoot College has developed a sustainable and scalable empowerment model that addresses 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, providing solar power, clean water, quality education, profession, and advocacy solutions to individuals and communities in the Least Developed Countries.

Children are now able to study in the evening time with the help of solar power . In Togo it gets dark at around 5 .30. pic lar Boland 2014

Children are now able to study in the evening time with the help of solar power . In Togo it gets dark at around 5 .30. pic lar Boland 2014

  • SOLAR: A staggering number of villages have been left in the dark for too long, and Barefoot College is rectifying this by harnessing the full power of the sun. Solutions include training middle-aged women from rural villages to become solar engineers, installing community-manufactured solar water heaters, offering solar powered desalination to rural villages, and creating access to parabolic solar cookers. To date, over 50,000 solar systems have been installed.
  • WATER: Reliance on inefficient water harvesting practices and ever-changing groundwater levels deny millions of people clean and safe drinking water. Barefoot College has implemented rainwater harvesting techniques, supported dam construction, created a solar powered desalination plant, and generated a water mapping website, giving 1,521 schools and communities access to drinking water and employing 400 rural water engineers.
  • EDUCATION: A hands-on approach to modern education gives children crucial knowledge and practical skills which they can directly apply to life in their own communities. Barefoot College has set up a rural crèche program (for children of working mothers), a day school program, a night school program (for children who are busy with family obligations during the day), and bridge transition schools (for children with no prior formal education who need to be integrated into the system). To date, Barefoot College has educated 75,000 children in night schools.
  • PROFESSIONS: Encouraging self-reliance and facilitating professional training is the simplest way to strengthen a local economy and empower an entire community. Barefoot College has put in place healthcare programs, communication programs, women enrichment programs, and support for rural crafts, as a result training 260+ doctors, employing 500 craft professionals, and reaching over 50,000 through the Community Radio 90.4 station in India.
  • ADVOCACY: Barefoot College is a proponent for social justice, advocating for the rights of marginalized communities around the world. Through partnerships with local governments and grassroots organizations, Barefoot College has innovated effective and tailored solutions to empower rural communities that lack access to essential necessities, initiating change one village at a time. To date, Barefoot College has created a network of over 80 NGO partners and 14 government partners.

The Barefoot College solutions have impacted over 2 million people in 1300 communities across 80 countries, including 500,000 people with access to light, 500 million litres of kerosene replaced with clean energy for light, heating, and cooking, and 1 billion litres of clean drinking water collected sustainably every year.

“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

It is this thinking that drives Barefoot College in their push for sustainable solutions and self- reliant communities, moving us closer to a world without want which was the vision of its founder Sanjit ‘Bunker’ Roy and Meagan Fallone.