"Any illiterate woman - including
women who have never left their villages - from any part of Africa can
be trained to be a confident and compitent solar engineer."
That kind of confident and prejudice busting attitude is what pushed me to select the team behind "Barefoot Solar Engineers" project as my hero. I know that they aren't an individual, but I like that because it also shows that this work we are all doing is less about single people and more about what can be accomplished through networked and open creativity.
The program trains largely illiterate women, grandmothers often, to be solar engineers able to electrify their own villages. Buying kerosean in little
quanties at a time, poor communities like these spend a much bigger
proportion of their income on energy than their wealthier neighbours.
By installing renewables these women free up both the time and money that would otherwise have gone to getting fuel, and give their communities the independance that comes from managing their own energy
supplies. Also, lack of access to electricity is one of the things that push people into informal settlements around cities.
Decentralized, community managed renewables are a great way to give people access to services where they are. It also has the advantage of slowing runaway urbanization and generally increasing people's quality of life.
Here is a longer post that I wrote on their work, and a video on what they do:
"I love that you've brought this to attention. An extensive database of uncommon but resistant and hardy plants/foods could be developed and organized by climate. Ease of growth and processing should also be taken in to account. I will try to…"
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The exchange works directly for state and public workers and servants. It gives them credit in exchange for the amount of public work they contribute to the community. The more constructive they are based off a base rate the more credit they recieve.