20,000 Suns: Hogan Lovells Empowers Women to Bring Solar Light to 34 Countries with Barefoot College

Hogan Lovells Barefoot College sponsor solar

10 July 2016

Hogan Lovells is partnering with Barefoot College and the Government of India to train 400 women in rural parts of the world to become solar engineers, and bring light to 20,000 homes.

This cross-sector, global initiative has non-formally educated, poor, rural, women at its heart – Barefoot College teaches a woman everything she needs to know to become a solar engineer, sends her home to provide off-grid, renewable energy to her entire village, then makes her responsible for maintaining the technology.  She goes from being a vulnerable individual in her village, to being a valued and valuable stakeholder with critical knowledge to share.

Through a combination of funds, pro bono (free) legal advice and donations of equipment, Hogan Lovells will coordinate partnerships that strengthen Barefoot College’s mission to unlock the democratic power of technology, enabling rural poor communities to transform themselves. 

As a global firm with a unique practice of lawyers in 50 offices around the world and a network of legal partners across Africa, we are delighted to be able to mobilize our network to achieve impact.

Hogan Lovells Chair, Nicholas Cheffings, said:

“This is an exciting partnership that couldn’t be more timely.  With the UN Global Goals taking root across the world, and the empowerment of women being a priority for businesses in every sector, this initiative embodies our commitment to social justice and progress.  Our core specialisms in renewables and infrastructure, coupled with our practices across Africa and Asia, align so well with the mission of this initiative.  I can’t wait to see the results.”

Meagan Fallone, CEO of Barefoot College, said:

“Globally, gender disparities in economic opportunities continue to restrict the rights and potential of half the world’s human resources. It is essential to address how women’s equal and active participation can be encouraged in the areas of technology, finance, energy transitions, and sustainable development, in ways that deconstruct social and structural inequities and reinforce progress.”

Head of our Africa Practice, Andrew Skipper, said:

“The Barefoot College provides one of the best platforms for empowering women to make a significant social impact to both their families, and the wider communities in which they live. As the program expands, particularly in Africa, we look forward to contributing to an initiative that brings together the public and private sectors, governments and NGOs to unlock the power of technology in transforming the lives of the rural poor in the world.”

Alexander McMyn, who heads up our India Practice, said:

“I am very excited about our partnership with the Indian Government and Barefoot College.  Being part of an initiative that sees Indian models of working used to lift the poorest communities out of poverty is an honor.  And seeing India take such a leadership role in this endeavor is a powerful message to the world.”

Louise Moore, who heads up our International Environment practice, said:

“Global issues require global responses – which is why I am so excited that we are part of this partnership with Barefoot College and the Government of India.  As a global firm, with expertise and experience in energy, renewables and environmental law, we are delighted to support Barefoot in their roll out, which will bring light to off grid communities that would otherwise remain unconnected.”

Abhishek Saxena, partner at Phoenix Legal, an Indian law firm in New Delhi, said:

“Barefoot College and the Indian Government are doing admirable work in their mission to solar electrify villages across the Developing World. The Ghanaian proverb, ‘you educate a woman you educate a family’, can be aptly modified to describe the outcome of this initiative, ‘you make women solar engineers, you light up entire communities’. We at Phoenix Legal are delighted to be working with Hogan Lovells to help support this initiative.


About Hogan Lovells

3 years.  1 initiative.  To empower, advance and protect the rights of women and girls globally.  Our Empowering Girls and Women Initiative will transform lives – supporting survivors of gender-based violence, creating fertile ground for women-owned business to prosper, and educating the women of tomorrow.  See more here: http://www.hoganlovells.com/en/citizenship/empowering-girls-and-women-initiative.

Straight talking. Thinking around corners. Understanding and solving the problem before it becomes a problem. Performing as a team, no matter where we’re sitting.  Delivering clear and practical advice that gets your job done.   

Our 2,500 lawyers work together with you to solve the toughest legal issues in major industries and commercial centers around the world. Whether you’re expanding into new markets, considering capital from new sources, or dealing with increasingly complex regulation or disputes, we help you stay on top of your risks and opportunities.


About Phoenix Legal

Phoenix Legal is a full service corporate commercial Indian law firm with its offices in New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. More information about Phoenix Legal can be obtained at www.phoenixlegal.in

About Barefoot College

Barefoot College (www.barefootcollege.org) is a not for profit, Social Enterprise, that has been providing basic services and solutions to the challenges facing rural poor communities for more than 42 years, with the objective of making them self-sufficient and sustainable. Valuing and respecting the knowledge and wisdom the rural poor already possess, throughout the developing world, The College was founded in 1972 by Sanjit “Bunker” Roy, following the lifestyle and work style of Mahatma Gandhi. It is an unparalleled example of South-South cooperation linking more than 80 other NGOs and civil society organizations throughout the world. Its structure is unique in its decentralized management philosophy, its dedication for more than 4 decades to capacity building from within and a clear social justice approach, delivers what has become known widely around the world, as the “Barefoot Approach” to community development.

The ‘Barefoot solutions’ can be broadly categorized into the delivery of Solar Electrification, Clean Water, Education and Sustainable Livelihood Development. The college has been committed to Empowering Women as change agents, entrepreneurs and environmental stewards. It believes that a true Social Enterprise must address social norms & behavior as well as systemic root causes of poverty, while delivering goods and services to the rural poor.

Believing that placing women at the heart of the development process is the most reliable and effective way to pass on the wisdom, knowledge and skills that all rural poor communities already possess and which are so often undervalued and under utilized. The College engages in building confidence and competence in women and entire communities through a blended partnership model versus a purely transactional business model, to bring about large-scale shifts in values and sustainable quality of life enhancement.

Barefoot College enjoys Global Partnerships with UN Women, The GEF Small Grants Program of UNDP and UNESCO. It partners in every country with indigenous NGO organizations and works in collaboration with 60+ such entities on the continent of Africa. It Advocates strongly for shifts at National level to include decentralized access to renewable energy for rural communities on a partnership blended social business model versus a profit model. Barefoot College is a Skoll Foundation Awardee, recipient of the Alcan Prize and Blue Planet Prize. Bunker Roy was awarded the Clinton Global Citizen Award in 2014 and was one of the TIME 100 in 2013.