The women who are illiterate or semi-literate middle-aged (in their forties, most are grandmothers), and permanent residents from the non-electrified villages are selected to attend a 6 month residential training through which they learn to design, fabricate, install and repair solar lanterns, solar home lighting systems, charge controllers and set up rural electronic workshop. Candidates from all over the world who do not necessarily speak the same language as the master trainers, are taught to identify electronic components through colour codes and shapes. They learn to perform technical tasks by following practical examples and acquire the necessary skills to electrify their communities.
ITEC Solar Training
The collaboration with the Indian government’s Economic and Technical Cooperation Programme (ITEC) started in 2008 when the Ministry of External Affairs empanelled Barefoot College as one of their training institutes. Till date, this is the only training institute that is a registered civil society organization and operating in rural India. Since then, ITEC has financed the trip, the stay and six month training for 24 batches involving 884 rural illiterate/semi-literate women from the most marginalized communities in the poorest countries have been trained to become solar engineers. The partnership with ITEC has resulted in electrification of 40,000 households in 410 villages covering 94 countries contributing to at least 8 sustainable development goals.