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Sunday, 2 February 2014

Tanzania's President to visit Barefoot College today.

President Ali Mohamed Shein of Tanzania's semi-autonomous region Zanzibar will be visiting the Barefoot College in Tilonia, on Sunday.

The college has taught illiterate rural women from Zanzibar to fabricate, install and maintain solar home lighting systems and lanterns.

"Impressed by the skills of the Zanzibari rural women in assembling, installing and maintaining solar lamps for providing solar power to over 200 non-electrified homes in two rural north Zanzibar communities, after their training under an ITEC programme of the Ministry of External Affairs, Shein decided to visit the Barefoot College, Tilonia, with a view to establish similar barefoot training facilities in Zanzibar," said a spokesperson of the college. An MOU will be signed during his visit.

The 'Zanzibar Women Barefoot Solar Engineers' have been trained with the support of an NGO, Wanawake Kupanda. The NGO is founded by the original group of solar engineers from Zanzibar trained in 2011.

The Barefoot College is a non-governmental organization that has been providing basic services and solutions to problems in rural communities for over four decades with the objective of making them self-sufficient and sustainable.

The 'barefoot solutions' can be broadly categorized into solar electrification for non-electrified villages worldwide, drinking water through rainwater harvesting, health, education, increasing livelihood sources and empowering women.

So far, over 600 semi-literate women have been trained as "Barefoot Solar Engineers" from 63 countries across Latin America, Caribbean, Africa, Asia and South Pacific Islands. They have solar electrified 45,000 rural houses for lighting affecting more than 500,000 people across the developing world. It is estimated that solar lighting saves more than 3 million litre of kerosene in lighting per year.

The reception of President Ali Mohamed Shein to the Barefoot College will coincide with the Lok Utsav music festival being held at the Tilonia campus from February 1 to 4. The festival is a celebration of the traditional Rajasthani singers and musicians and will welcome more than 300 participants.
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