Since 2012 Enel Green Power has been working with Indian NGO Barefoot College to bring electricity to remote rural areas in Latin America as part of the Enabling Electricity programme.
The project is aimed at women between the ages of 35 and 50, who are often semi-literate or illiterate. Once they have been selected, the women move to Barefoot College in India for six months and participate in a training programme which uses gestures, sounds and colours in order to communicate it ideas effectively. At the end of the programme, the women return to their villages as qualified solar engineers who install and repair solar panels and related equipment. These solar nans are also responsible for training other women and exporting the model to nearby villages. Since 2012, the project has involved a total of 36 communities in eight countries, bringing electricity to over 2,000 households.
A mini-documentary featuring Ana Paula Pereira, the head of a small Brazilian community, tells the story of the initiative's launch in Brazil. After having spent a number of weeks at Barefoot College, Ana Paula is now able to install and maintain small PV solar systems in her village, providing her community with all the benefits of electricity.
The mini-documentary comes after the release of Bring the Sun Home, a documentary created by Chiara Andrich and Giovanni Pellegrini that told the story of the project, from its early stages up to when villages are being provided with electricity. The film was premiered in Rome on World Environment Day 2013 and has been shown at a number of prestigious festivals.
The partnership with Barefoot College is part of Enel's commitment to improving the living conditions of those in the most disadvantaged communities. All of the Group's subsidiaries work with local governments in order to reduce the energy divide, due to which 1.4 billion people in the world still lack access to electricity.
The partnership with Barefoot College will spread to other continents as well. Enel has offered its support for the construction of Barefoot College's first Regional Training Centre in Tanzania, allocating an additional investment of $520,000 to help train women bring electricity to 400 families in Central and Eastern Africa.