Four Liberian women are to leave for India shortly to participate in a 6 month solar electrification training, organized for semiliterate and illiterate women by the Barefoot College.
The beneficiaries include Theresa K. Rennie of Kakata, Margibi County; Ellen B. Minifah of Grand Bassa; Roseline N. Massaquoi of Margibi; and another whose identity is yet to be disclosed.
They will join other women from several African countries for the training and will serve as master trainers for others when they return home.
The Barefoot College coordinator in Liberia, Marjanne Baker, said in an interview that the training prepares women to locally produce solar energy in rural non-electrified villages.
According to Marjanne, Liberia has sent eight women for training since the program was introduced in 1989.
The selection process, she said, is done in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, Social and Children Protection.
According to Marjanne, Grand Bassa Community College will serve as a training hub for the Barefoot College program where the beneficiaries will train other women.
She assured that the program is sustainable and will be monitored and evaluated to ensure that the purpose of their training in India is accomplished.
The India based Barefoot College’s Solar Electrification program was developed from Mahatma Gandhi’s belief that knowledge and skills found in villages should be used for development before importing skills from without.
According to Gandhi’s philosophy, sophisticated technology should be used in rural India and should be controlled by poor communities so they are not exploited.
Since 1989, Barefoot College has implemented Gandhi’s message, and has pioneered solar electrification in remote villages.
The move also makes solar technology understandable and decentralizes its application by placing production, installation, usage, repair and maintenance of sophisticated solar lighting units by rural, illiterate and semi-illiterate women in India and Africa.
The government of Liberia through the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Protection and India established a partnership to help rural Liberian women to benefit from the program.
The Grand Bassa Community College has also signed an agreement with Barefoot College to use its campus to train rural women to benefit from the program.