WWF's Work on Sustainable Energy Access in Africa

Malagasy grandmothers
© Barefoot College

In 2013, 1.4 billion people still live without electricity, and many more still rely on polluting or unsustainable energy sources like kerosene or firewood that damage their health and the environment their lives depend on. Ensuring access to sustainable energy for all is one of WWF’s priorities.

WWF has launched a global Seize Your Power campaign, asking governments and business to invest more in clean energy solutions.

Recognising the role of local communities as driving force of a shift to modern, sustainable energy sources, WWF decided to engage with the Barefoot College, an Indian NGO with strong experience in community-based training. Since 2012 we work together to promote access to sustainable energy in developing countries.
The first joint project “Turning Grandmothers into Solar Engineers” takes place in Madagascar, a country where more than 80% of the population still lives without electricity. Seven Malagasy grandmothers were trained for 6 months at the Barefoot College in India and they will now start electrifying their villages with solar energy in the most remote areas of Madagascar. They will assemble and maintain solar systems at affordable costs for the communities. The project will have important positive impacts on health, education, women empowerment and security in the villages.
WWF and Barefoot hope to replicate this project in other villages of Madagascar and are encouraging national governments to support the creation of national “Barefoot Colleges” in other developing countries.

WWF is also advocating the European Commission to support the development of sustainable energy solutions in developing countries and to increase its effort towards community-based approaches to energy access.


	© Barefoot College
Barefoot College is a non-governmental organization that has been providing basic services and solutions to problems in rural communities for more than 40 years, with the objective of making them self-sufficient and sustainable.

These ‘Barefoot solutions’ can be broadly categorized into the delivery of Solar Electrification, Clean Water, Education, Livelihood Development, and Activism. With a geographic focus on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Barefoot College believes strongly in Empowering Women as agents of sustainable change.

"Turning grandmothers into solar engineers"

Voahirana Randriambola, WWF's Madagascar Footprint Coordinator, talks about the joint project with Barefoot College.

Champion District Initiative

Job Mutyaba, Energy Manager at WWF Uganda, explains why The Champion District Initiative is a unique project.