Two women led organizations have combined solar technology and income growth to create a dynamic opportunity for rural women rising out of generational poverty.

As the call for gender mainstreaming in energy access mounts , Frontier Markets and Barefoot College International announce a global partnership designed to create social and economic opportunity for rural women and their communities, first in India and then scaling globally. This well documented, untapped potential to create social and economic opportunity through income generation for poor rural women and their last mile communities inspired both organizations to launch this unprecedented new education plus enterprise program.

Ajaita Shah, Founder/CEO of Frontier Markets, and Meagan Fallone, CEO of Barefoot College International, announced their launch of an innovative toolkit that leverages the skills of the poor and catalyses economic growth through training and entrepreneurship.

“The unique strength of the partnership is how beautifully obvious it is. We’re two women-led organisations that recognize that together, we can present an offer that can have deeper, wider impact towards universal energy access, with women at the centre,” Ajaita Shah.

This education plus enterprise toolkit will combine Barefoot College’s solar engineer training to manufacture, install and service solar products in their villages, with Frontier Markets’ market-based approach to train women to collect and use customer data as energy consultants.

Developed, at scale, this partnership will create a network of more than 2000 female Engineers & Entrepreneurs to reach 200,000 households. Together, they will establish 100 Solar Demo Hubs in rural areas. The project will be piloted in Rajasthan immediately with a plan to scale quickly, based on results, to 5 states in India and 10 countries internationally. The joint programs will develop and source a series of low cost high impact products using their unique feedback systems and bottom up market creation methodology. Together, they will deepen enterprising skills, generate income and help to break the traditional norms of society for women rising out of poverty. Both enterprises will utilise their network of multilateral organisations and extensive ground partners to scale and replicate this toolkit globally.

“The time has come to put the best social innovation and human work together with fine market based approaches to truly empower women at every level of the pyramid, in the most holistic, and sustainable way possible. We intend to put our combined expertise and experience together to create impact that is unparalleled and scalable,” Meagan Fallone

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