Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Clean Power

Grandmothers To Solar Engineers In Madagascar

Old woman's hand / Madagascar flag.  Image Credit: Shutterstock

Old woman’s hand / Madagascar flag.
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Antananarivo, Madagascar: A group of seven elderly women have departed their villages in rural Madagascar for six months training at India’s Barefoot College that will equip them as community solar engineers.

The College’s Solar Engineer programme, run in conjunction with WWF, trains grandmothers to provide solar energy to their villages and others.

These solar systems will be their communities’ main energy source for lighting, where today there is currently either no power or only unsustainable energy sources like kerosene, diesel and old or disposable batteries. It is estimated that rural households in Madagascar use approximately 1.5–2 gallons of kerosene per month for their lighting and cooking needs.

Utilising solar power would almost eliminate the community’s dependence on diesel and kerosene, according to WWF’s Renewable Energy Manager Jean-Philippe Denruyter.

“They will be electrifying 240 households in Iavomanitra village and 150 households in Tsaratànana village on their return. Both these villages are located in protected areas in the forests of Madagascar, where the local communities are the stewards of the land and the link between environment and social issues is very obvious”, he said.

Founded in 1972 in Rajasthan, Barefoot College is a voluntary organization working in the fields of education, skill development, health, drinking water, women empowerment and electrification through solar power for the upliftment of rural people.

“This partnership brings to life WWF’s vision of achieving universal sustainable energy access through 100% renewable energy. Access to clean, safe, reliable and affordable renewable energy is fundamental for achieving poverty eradication and sustainable development”, says Samantha Smith, leader of the WWF Global Climate and Energy Initiative under whom the programme of energy access falls.

The group, the first under to participate under the WWF programme, will soon join the more than 300 women already trained as Barefoot Engineers.

Only older women (often grandmothers) are accepted in the programme as they are less likely to go to the city when they return from their training, and are keen to share their knowledge and have the patience to learn.

WWF is currently mobilising funds for the women to equip them with the materials and tools needed to start their work on their return, according to Denruyter.

“As poor communities are gaining access to energy, it is important that they benefit from the best, CO2 emission free technologies that also avoid dependence on volatile energy prices and expensive fossil fuels,” said Denruyter.

“Moreover, reliable solar power in rural areas does not only reduce the need for inefficient governmental subsidies for more expensive fossil fuels, but also provides improved livelihoods for poor communities, enhances opportunities for education and development in rural areas, particularly for women,” he added.

This article was originally published on the website of the WWF (image added).

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.

Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Written By

We publish a number of guest posts from experts in a large variety of fields. This is our contributor account for those special people, organizations, agencies, and companies.


You May Also Like

Clean Transport

Moove, the world’s first mobility fintech, launches in India as a part of its global expansion. According to its website, Moove is a Nigerian-born...

Clean Power

There is a threat to clean energy that’s proliferating around the United States. In articles like this one, we’ve covered the story of several...

Clean Power

An increase in electricity generation from small-scale, customer-sited photovoltaic (PV) solar in New England is changing the hourly pattern of metered electricity demand during...


Log kya kahenge? (What will people say) This is the mindset that Jothi Viknesh, a 32-year-old from Tamil Nadu, sought to defeat when he...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.