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Barefoot Women Solar Training College


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Barefoot Women Solar Training Centre

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BACKGROUND
The Barefoot Women Solar Training Centre started as a soap making and backyard gardening activity which survived on loans and handouts. Having proved well in repaying their loans and making substantial turnover, Sanjit Bunker - a pioneer of Solar Training for illiterate  women in India - selected Nancy Kanu of Konta Line and Fatu Koroma of Mayainmibana to be trained as Barefoot Engineers at the Tilonia Barefoot College in India.
Upon their return, Nancy and Fatu succeeded in carrying out the solar electrification of three villages; Konta Line, Mamanso and Mayainmibana. It was due to the astounding success of Nancy and Fatu that a second and third batch of trainees were selected and sent to India with the help of the Government of Sierra Leone. This took the number of trained Barefoot Solar Engineers to twelve (12) and these are now serving the entire country.
The Barefoot Women Solar Training College was formed on the  14th January, 2010 and is legally registered with the Local Council as a Community Based Organisation and with the office of the Registrar-General.
MISSION
To identify rural, poor, illiterate women, train them in solar technology and to solar electrify all remote inaccessible villages in Sierra Leone, adopting the Barefoot approach by 2020.
OBJECTIVES
i.
To identify remote rural inaccessible villages all  over the country with a view to providing simple basic and clean light through the use of Solar Photovoltaics (SPVs) and do Solar PV grid connections for urban and peri-urban using mortgage systems
ii.
To sensitise the poor communities in each village to pay a monthly contribution for the repairs and maintenance of the Solar units.
iii.
To establish Village Solar Committees (VSCs) to take responsibility in the implementation, supervision and administration of the project in their village.
iv.
To involve the whole village in the selection of 150 illiterate/semi-illiterate grandmothers to be trained as Solar Engineers annually.
v.
To establish a Barefoot Training Centre in Konta Line, Lower Koya in Port Loko District and replicate the same in District and Provincial Headquarter Towns by 2020.
vi.
Establish Rural Electronic Workshops (REWs) for graduating trainees.
ACHIEVEMENTS
The partial solar electrification of 33 towns/villages in Sierra Leone, totalling up to 2950 Solar PV Systems.
Sent twelve (12) illiterate women for training under the India Scholarship.
Presently screening 150 illiterate women for possible training as Solar Engineers in the Barefoot Women Solar Training Centre in Konta Line
Construction of two (2) production workshops funded by UNIDO for Micro Enterprises.
Construction of Barefoot Solar Training Centre, with support from the GoSL and implemented by NaCSA
Solar electrification of twelve (12) villages where the twelve (12) Indian trained Barefoot Women originate from (Konta Line, Mayainmibana, Kissy Koya, Makandeh, Maboima, Yoni-Bombali, Romakneh, Robikie, Yoni-Bana, Conakry-Dee, Petifu-Lokomasama and Giema-Dama).
Solar electrification of Police Stations, Police Posts, houses of worship in rural and urban areas and provinces.
Repairs of Solar Cold Chains in Port Loko District.
Training of caretakers for UNIDO Growth Centres in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Fifty-nine (59) Rural women already trained as Barefoot Solar Engineers and eighteen (18) REWs established.
Thirty-five (35) male youth trained as solar technicians by Barefoot Women Solar Engineers and are currently working with the Barefoot Women during installations and maintenance.
CHALLENGES
More mobility (vehicles and XL motor bikes) for solar inputs delivery, monitoring and maintenance.
Establishment of a Solar Factory as Solar inputs importation is expensive.
Water facilities for barefoot campus.
The need for replacement of batteries in four (4) years time (384 dry cell).
Partnership and funding for Barefoot activities and staff advance training.
Office equipment (internet, computers, printers for adult and computer literacy).
Support for Barefoot Micro Enterprise; Bakery, Solar Modules and Barefoot Agricultural Farm. Men's passiveness to wholly support women projects and women led projects.
BAREFOOT PRIORITY BENEFICIARIES
For the many years Barefoot will be working in Sierra Leone and even with other African countries. Our priority in the Training Centre is to work with the marginalised, the exploited and the impoverished, rural poor women living on less than a dollar a day and lift them with dignity and self respect over the poverty line.
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BAREFOOT  NEWS STORIES
The Ministry of Energy has certified trained Solar Technicians
from all Districts at the Barefoot Women Solar College on
Friday 30th September 2016.