My feed
Premium

Please
or
to access all these features

Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

The amazing solar engineer grandmas of Africa

28 replies

duchesse · 10/06/2012 23:06

Video .

OP posts:
Report
duchesse · 11/06/2012 10:07

Might have posted that a bit late for anyone to see. It is well worth seeing.

OP posts:
Report
Prolesworth · 11/06/2012 10:51

Thanks so much for posting this duchesse - amazing!

Report
Alameda · 11/06/2012 11:00

solar grannies, love it, thank you

(

Report
Prolesworth · 11/06/2012 11:06

Interesting isn't it that they consider men 'untrainable' because they demand certificates and then bugger off to the city to make money, whereas the women apparently don't ask for certificates and stay to use their skills to benefit their communities.

Report
Alameda · 11/06/2012 11:10

Shock at suggestion that most men are self-serving and more interested in status and money than in providing services for their communities in an unpaid and thankless way, like wiping the bottoms of old people and babies

Report
duchesse · 11/06/2012 11:12

I suggest that if an organisation has a limited amount of money to achieve their aims, they are quite likely to do a cost/benefit analysis on their activities. If this organisation has realised that their best bet is to train older women, I'm sure they have a sound basis for that.

OP posts:
Report
Prolesworth · 11/06/2012 11:14

"Through experience, men have been usually found to be ?untrainable? as they are restless, impatient, ambitious and compulsively mobile and they all want certificates after training. Once they are trained and have a certificate in hand, they tend to leave their native villages and migrate to the cities. Middle-aged women, on the other hand, are often slower at learning but they are patient, tolerant and determined. Since women trainees have a solid base with a home and family in the village, they are not usually interested in migrating to cities and certificates are of no value to them. The Barefoot College believes that certificates, issued by training institutes, are one of the major reasons for migration to the cities and therefore the College awards none."

Barefoot College Solar Training

Report
tribpot · 11/06/2012 11:16

I can't quite envisage how this project ever got off the ground - taking women who'd never left their village and flying them to India to learn solar engineering from people with no common language? (I'm certainly not suggesting this didn't happen but it just seems so fantastical. How must they have felt?!)

I think it's a bit more complicated than saying the men can't be trained because they won't put the training to use in their communities. The video mentions that they are more ambitious and more mobile, too (and I would imagine quite a few of them are younger and all are less tied to childcare responsibilities). But that doesn't take away from the fantastic achievement of these women, making a huge difference.

Report
duchesse · 11/06/2012 11:23

I thought that, tribpot! They must have very good skilled negotiators on the ground, I think.

OP posts:
Report
SardineQueen · 11/06/2012 11:44

Wow that is great! What an amazing idea from india and impressive how it is developing. The money being put behind it is great too - a few million spent on training the women which undoubtedly is money well spent but impressed by whoever it was that decided to spend it!

Fascinating views about men, women, certificates and all the rest of it which raises loads of questions about society etc in these areas but not going to start on this thread as I think the achievements of these women is amazing!

Report
Prolesworth · 11/06/2012 11:58

Indeed, what a fantastic organisation. Have a look at the rural women entrepreneurs! Amazing women.

Report
duchesse · 11/06/2012 12:03

Slightly different tack but there are quite a few micro-finance organisations now where you led a tenner to a woman (or man) across the world to get her business off the ground. I don't know anything more that about them, expect that it seems a very attractive way of helping other women. Organisations like Kiva and Triodos.

OP posts:
Report
catsrus · 11/06/2012 12:03

I did a bit of research, having never heard of them and the barefoot college has just been listed as no. 15 in the top 100 NGOs by Global magazine. Beating Save the Children, the WWF and Amnesty!

looking at all the other stuff they do it's a double 'wow' from me!

Report
duchesse · 11/06/2012 12:03
  • lend

    Basically you can lend as much as you want. Changes people's lives for a very small risk to you.
OP posts:
Report
tribpot · 11/06/2012 13:09

duchesse, Hillary Clinton talks about micro-financing a lot in one of her books about her time as First Lady. I always meant to research it more.

Kiva looks very interesting. I am also minded to donate to the barefoot college themselves, it looks like fascinating work.

Report
BasilBabyEater · 11/06/2012 16:03

That video is incredible and moving

Report
duchesse · 11/06/2012 18:09

I just can't help thinking what a huge, massive leap of faith it must have been for the village to raise the money and for the women to put themselves forward. Maybe they've reached the "running their sticks along railings" and no longer cared/ wanted to get out and see a bit of the world and reclaim their rightful position of authority in their villages. Obviously the big sell must have been the chance to be freed of the burden of spending 70% of their time hunting for sticks.

OP posts:
Report
blackcurrants · 11/06/2012 19:13

I was someone's best 'man' a few years ago (best mate and housemate from college, lovely guy) and as a 'thank you' he gave me a Kiva gift card - basically "your first two loans are on me. Start changing lives!" - and it's one of the bestest presents I've ever got. I'm STILL using that present, and I've added to it over the years, and basically getting involved in microfinancing was amazing for me. I loan to women and female collectives, mostly women who want to expand their businesses, and (while it's not charity - they repay with interest) I like to hope each loan is a vote of confidence as well.

As for Barefoot College, without wanting to over-generalize about India I have taught there for a while and it is a culture very focussed on certificates - I am regularly quizzed about my degrees, how much each cost, how long it took me to get them, what else I am studying for. I was absolutely amazed that the Barefoot College could get people to train with them without offering some form of certification, frankly - and more power to them for what they do, I think it's extraordinary!

Also, the founder of the college has an interesting TED talk that's up online. I can't find it atm cos am posting on the fly (thank Dawg for Peppa Pig) but it's there.

Report
BasilBabyEater · 11/06/2012 19:27

Blackcurrants, I've just gone on to the Kiva site and it looks like it's all in dollars. Does it automatically convert it?

Report
OddBoots · 11/06/2012 19:35

I use Kiva and yes, it converts it, I'm not sure exactly but $28.75 (so including the optional $3.75 admin) is about £18-19

Report
tribpot · 11/06/2012 19:36

Here is the TED talk.

Basil, I think you're basically 'buying' from a US site, so you'll need to convert the amount for yourself to work out what it is in GBP, but it'll be converted on your credit card statement based on the prevailing exchange rate of the day.

Report
blackcurrants · 11/06/2012 19:43

Basil I've been in the USA all the time I've used it, so I'm not sure - but I think so. Wot Tribs said.

Report

Don’t want to miss threads like this?

Weekly

Sign up to our weekly round up and get all the best threads sent straight to your inbox!

Log in to update your newsletter preferences.

You've subscribed!

dittany · 11/06/2012 21:23

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tribpot · 11/06/2012 21:25

I wonder how the loan repayment thing works with Kiva if you're overseas - unless they can process it like a refund on a credit card it could be hellish expensive all round. Off to do more research!

The TED talk is amazing. Really worth watching.

Report
blackcurrants · 11/06/2012 22:02

trib you don't get the money back to your credit card, you get it back to your Kiva account - then you loan it again.

I think you can withdraw it from your Kiva account back to your own accounts, but I don't know, I never have.

I sort of think about it as 'giving' $25 to Kiva, and then lending it out over and over again, from there. (Sorry if this is a de-rail, OP)

Report
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.