This October 24th, the Fijian Government (Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation) and Barefoot College signed a formal agreement to construct a Barefoot College in Vanua Levu, North Fiji. The College will be focusing on localisation of 11 sustainable development goals through and with rural Pacific Island Women across Fiji and 14 Pacific island nations.

From left to right; Teupoo Ford, Ruta Ngatokorua and Pati Ravarua from Cook Islands

Barefoot College Fiji will be the first and only institutional facility in the Pacific where mastery of renewable energy technology coupled with a holistic approach to building entrepreneurial skills for women, with little to no previous formal education has been established. It is a systems change approach that represents Fiji’s visionary leadership towards driving inclusion and gender equity within the frameworks of climate change, accelerating SDG localization at community level and a commitment to ensuring all women prosper.

Founder and Director of Barefoot College International, Meagan Fallone had this to say about the union of Government and social organisations for civil projects:

It has long been my hope to see Governments partnering with Social Enterprises and Social Innovation organisations to bring proven, impact-driven, cost-effective programs, to scale. Our Pacific Island women have shown an incredible adaptive learning ability that has proven Climate adaptation and disaster mitigation effectiveness. ”

Core curriculums will focus on Mastery of Renewable Energy Technology, Digital Technology skills, Financial Literacy and Inclusion, Human Rights, Environmental Stewardship, Women’s Reproductive Health and Nutrition, the development of Aspirations & Agency and Micro-Enterprise skills. The Barefoot College will curate a wide network of indigenous CSOs to deliver additional curriculums focused on sustainable livelihood capacity building.

The Government of Fiji is very pleased that our partnership with Barefoot College has led to this historic step forward for our rural women in Fiji and throughout the Pacific. Fiji thrives when its women are fully participating! ”

– Josefa Koroivueta, Permanent Secretary in Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation

Permanent Secretary Josefa Koroivueta, Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation and Director of Barefoot College International, Meagan Fallone, signed this historic agreement following 5 years of successful implementation of the Barefoot Approach in collaboration with The Government of India ITEC (India Technical Economic Cooperation), which has brought renewable energy to more than 3500 people across three islands of Fiji. The Hon. Mereseini Vuniwaqa, Minister of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, High Commissioner of India, Excellency Vishvas Sapkal and Ms Suriya Ansari of the Barefoot College were all present.

Pacific Island Mamas, along with their classmates, enjoy a field trip during their training at Barefoot College India

India-Fiji bilateral relations are excellent in all spheres. The upcoming vocational training centre will become a hub for the Pacific Island Countries for enhanced application of solar energy, empowering women across the Pacific and is a concrete step towards achieving our SDG’s.”

-Excellency Vishvas Sapkal High Commissioner for The Government of India to Fiji