Barefoot Engineers: rural women from Malawi, trained as solar engineers, who are electrifying their remote villages

Malawi's "barefoot engineers" are a group of eight local women who received solar engineering training in the Barefoot College in Rajasthan, India and returned home to install solar systems for poor and/or rural women.

Only 10% of Malawi is electrified: solar holds the potential for Malawi to leapfrog wireline, centralized power-generation and move straight to a decentralized, all-renewables, independent and locally appropriate form of electrification.

Peter Canton from VSO traveled with the barefoot engineers and documented their installations and the stories of the people whom their work benefited; their stories illuminate (literally) the way that climate remediation, power and gender twine together, and how access to training can profoundly transform the lives of women in the world's poorest and most remote places.

Emily Kamwendo, 62, and her husband Stefano Simion maintain a solar panel on roof of their house. Initially, Kamwendo's husband was sceptical about her training with VSO's Solar Mamas project, but now he says he appreciates her contribution to the community. A group of women from Malawi all spent six months at the Barefoot College in Tilonia, Rajasthan, India, learning to build and wire electrical components

The barefoot engineers of Malawi – in pictures [Peter Caton/VSO/The Guardian]

(via Naked Capitalism)