Friends of Barefoot College (FOBC) is a USA-based organization designed to champion the work and values of barefoot education internationally. As developed by Barefoot College in India, barefoot education is is the transformation of rural communities through the empowerment of women. By applying rural wisdom and knowledge, the Barefoot approach demystifies and decentralizes sophisticated technology and believes that formal education is not required for women to bring renewable energy and entrepreneurial activities to their communities. This approach has been proven and tested over 40 years in 72 countries, touching more than 500,000 lives.
Our primary purpose is to expand barefoot education globally. Friends of Barefoot College, USA specifically aims to provide financial support for the development of barefoot education programs (or regional barefoot education centers) throughout the world. Your contribution means funding for global programs such as
The 13 original women trained as Women Barefoot Solar Engineers; came back to Zanzibar transformed, ready to teach and share their knowledge and skills . They have created a revolution that is bringing renewable energy and clean light, to communities form Kandwi, to Makanduchi, form Matemwe to Panza Island in Pemba. The Barefoot College Zanzibar is a true community college, providing an ongoing opportunity to show the world the essential enabler that access to basic lighting is, for the education of children, health and well-being of communities and the possibility of increasing economic horizons.
Visit them at their new website: barefootcollege-zanzibar.org
In light of the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative, Barefoot College launched a commitment to open six regional vocational training centers in Africa, further expanding its training to illiterate/semi-literate women to become Barefoot Solar Engineers and enabling them to solar electrify their communities. This demystification of technology skills is coupled with a strong focus on enterprise development, financial inclusion skills, and women’s empowerment. The commitment expands and replicates Barefoot College’s proven Solar Initiative model to Burkina Faso, Liberia, Senegal, South Sudan, Zanzibar, and Tanzania. The centers will be modeled on the College’s campus in Tilonia, India, where women are taught to build, repair, and maintain solar home lighting systems, lanterns and cookers.
This initiative is based on an extraordinary partnership model bringing governments, social entrepreneurs, and private sector partners together. Through this partnership, we will catalyze a decentralized community-managed, sustainable, and green energy solution to lighting rural, non-electrified households and fostering women as environmental stewards and entrepreneurs.
This program draws on wisdom and strengths of communities by training local Barefoot teachers, who are selected to teach at Solar Powered Night Schools and day schools/crèches that cater to early and primary education. The Night Schools are tailored to provide education to children who otherwise would be excluded from school, namely young girls. The Rural Crèches and Day Schools are set up for the convenience of working mothers, so that they can leave their children in a safe and engaging environment. The Barefoot approach encourages that education in these schools focuses on raising awareness about social, economic, environmental, and political issues, and that literacy is only one part of education.
Friends of Barefoot College, USA is committed to further empowering and supporting the Women Barefoot Solar Engineers after they return home - especially when these incredible women and the skills they have mastered, can be leveraged during health, humanitarian, and environmental crisis.
Please check back for updates on the progress of our three main global projects, especially our Clinton Global Initiative Commitment.
Barefoot College is a 40 year old not-for-profit entity registered in India. In order to create a way for USA based donors to support the barefoot education mission, FOBC was created as a fiscally sponsored project of Earth Island Institute, to support specific projects in Barefoot College’s global expansion activities. Earth Island Institute is a 501(c)(3) organization hosting a global network of environmental groups.