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Training Illiterate Rural Grandmothers to Solar Electrify their own Villages all over Africa

Sanjit Bunker Roy; Founder, Barefoot College

The Barefoot College has been pioneering solar electrification in rural, remote, non-electrified villages, since 1989. The College has demystified solar technology and is decentralizing its application by making it available to poor and neglected communities.By “demystification” of solar technology and “decentralization” of its app- lication, we mean placing the fabri-cation, installation, usage, repair and maintenance of sophisticated solar lighting units in the hands of rural, illiterate and semi-literate men and women.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Plundered Planet

Paul Collier; Professor of Economics, University of Oxford

Corrupt politicians and greedy industrialists plunder the world’s natural resources in the name of “development.” Their actions are ruinous for the environment. Opposing them, romantic, backward-looking environmentalists would have us put “nature” in a museum showcase. Meanwhile, the world’s poorest countries, mostly in Africa, continue to struggle towards economic growth that would enable them to feed and clothe themselves.

Paul Collier’s ambitious goal is to tackle these three, seemingly conflicting, interests head on and show how to reconcile the immediate needs of the world’s burgeoning population with a sustainable environmental future. The answer, emerging from a wealth of economic data and original research, presented here for the first time, lies in the proper extraction and stewardship of natural resources. Some of these solutions lie within the continent itself: Collier sifts through the data to show that, if Africa has the same proportion of natural resources as the OECD countries, it could save the continent from poverty. Some of them lie with the world community: Collier’s research shows, for the first time, that we pay a startling $30billion to subsidize the plunder of the oceans through an inefficient fishing industry. He demonstrates how to channel this phenomenal sum through the World Food Programme, whilst giving the fishing industry a viable future. Some solutions depend on people in the West: in Europe we must give up our irrational fear of genetic modification; Americans should put by their misguided environmentalism that leads them to use crop resources for biofuels rather than food.

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