Barefoot Solar Engineers & Entrepreneurs attract acclaim, support at the Inauguration of the International Solar Alliance.
Each solar Mama trains 10 women to develop solar energy which in turn will each train 10women who in turn… This is how we change the world: we launch a movement of transmission! — Emmanuel Macron, President of France
Following a presentation of singing and speeches by Barefoot College Solar Mamas at the Inter Solar Alliance Conference in India on 11 March, President Emmanuel Macron pledged support for Barefoot College’s ongoing effort to provide sustainable energy for the rural poor. Macron posted to his Twitter account shortly after meeting the Solar Mamas and Barefoot College International CEO Meagan Fallone, “This is how we change the world: We launch a movement of transmission.”
During the conference two of our Solar Mamas, Kra Affoua Marina (Ivory Coast) and Ngatokorua Ruta (Cook Island), gave presentations about the work of solar electrification and its impact.
“I know how to build solar lamps. I even know how to install solar panels. This training is going to improve my village and teach my sisters to also become Solar Mamas. It’s going to change a lot of things,” said Rafa Marina, a Solar Mama from the Ivory Coast.
Barefoot College has graduated 2,670 Women Solar Engineers (solar mamas) from 96 countries and 15 states of India. Collectively, our engineers have installed solar systems which generate 1.4 Megawatts of electricity per year. They are starting businesses, fixing gender dogmas, improving family nutrition and health thanks to our ENRICHE curriculum and we have done all this in 51 of the 60 countries who signed the ISA framework agreement.
“Our solar mamas didn’t wait for us,” Macron said. “They started to act to deliver concrete results. They didn’t wait and they didn’t stop because some countries decided to leave the floor and the Paris Agreement. Because they decided it is good for them, their children, grandchildren – they decided to act and keep acting. That’s why we are here in order to act very concretely.”
The conference was hosted by India Prime Minister Narendra Modi who said the Solar Mama’s songs including “We Shall Overcome,” a highlight of the conference. Modi expressed support for Barefoot Solutions to rural energy now working in nearly 100 countries across the global south, irrespective of language, education and economic barriers faced by the ultra poor.