An NGDO that trains women in solar engineering visits the Basque Country thanks to eLankidetza
- Barefoot College International is working in 98 countries in the South to empower women through renewable energies
- eLankidetza supports NGDO projects in East Africa
A delegation from Barefoot College International has visited the Basque Country to learn about and exchange experiences with organisations that promote photovoltaic technologies and to publicise their work to empower women. eLankidetza-Basque Agency for Development Cooperation, part of the Department of Equality, Justice and Social Policies, supports the NGDO in projects in East Africa (Tanzania and Zanzibar) to train women in the installation, supply and maintenance of solar panels in rural communities that do not have electricity.
The philosophy of Barefoot Colleage International, founded by Indian activist Bunker Roy, is to simplify technology to make it accessible to people in remote rural communities without electricity. In this way, middle-aged women, many of them grandmothers who have not been able to receive formal training throughout their lives, are trained in solar energy and become leaders in their communities. The so-called “solar mamas” learn how to install solar panels through colours, diagrams and videos as most of them cannot read or write. After six months of training, they return to their communities and electrify their homes.
Thanks to the support of eLankidetza, 24 women in Zanzibar have become so-called “solar mamas” and each of them has been able to electrify 50 homes. In addition to this training, work is being done on the security, confidence and social entrepreneurship of these women, aspects that make these women become leaders in their communities.
Exchange with agents in the Basque Country
The visit is part of the collaboration between eLankidetza and the international NGDO, which includes an exchange with key players in the Basque Country both in the field of development cooperation and training in renewable energies and citizen cooperatives. In this regard, the delegation held a meeting with the Goiener cooperative and visited the Usurbil Vocational Training Centre, which has two advanced degree courses in energy efficiency and renewable energies.
Barefoot College was also able to learn about the work of the Eki Foundation, which focuses its activity on the supply of photovoltaic solar energy sources to educational, health and social interest centres in different African countries. The delegation also held a meeting at the Lehendakaritza to learn about the Ekiola cooperative’s energy communities project, the result of public-private collaboration between the Basque Energy Agency and the Mondragón Corporation. This initiative is part of the Basque Government’s Basque Agenda 2030 Priorities Programme, which promotes the Basque Country’s contribution to achieving the sustainable development goals.
Access to appropriate technologies, alternative energies such as solar energy, as well as vocational training and job creation for women in the African context are key elements in the commitment to development. In this sense, eLankidetza is committed to accompanying initiatives such as Barefoot College International, in which exchanges of knowledge between entities in the South and organisations in the Basque Country are envisaged.