For more than forty years, the Barefoot College has designed new ways to nurture and support a journey to empowerment, one village at a time, one woman at a time. It demystifies and decentralizes technology, putting new tools in the hands of the rural poor with a singular objective of spreading self-sufficiency and sustainability. With a geographic focus on the least-developed countries, the organization trains women worldwide as solar engineers, innovators, and educators, who then return to their villages to bring light and learning to their community. Barefoot College believes in the key role women play in improving overall quality of life and understands that women’s economic empowerment is integral to achieving gender equality and inclusive economic growth.
A 2016 grant from the Cultures of Resistance Network supported Barefoot College’s Enriche program, which invests in women to help them reach their full potential, fulfill their aspirations, and transform their communities via economic, social, and environmental impact. Under this program, the solar trainees in the Burkina Faso training center attended workshops in eight areas: Women’s Health, Financial Inclusion, Human Rights and Civil Society, Micro-Enterprise Skills, Livelihood Skills, Self-Awareness, Digital Literacy, and Environmental Stewardship. These sessions aimed to increase self-confidence, practical knowledge, and skills that are relevant to the participants’ lives and priorities.