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Meagan Fallone

Believer in innovative public-private technology partnerships that enable grassroots innovation to scale and reach the rural poor, thus demystifying and decentralizing ownership.Former CEO Barefoot College International, a hybrid social enterprise working in sustainable livelihoods, financial inclusion, environmental stewardship, technical mastery and enterprise skills with digital integration at the core of their strategy in 96 countries developing countries, building 5 Barefoot Women's Vocational Training Colleges in sub-Saharan Africa and 1 in the Pacific Islands. Work is recognized globally and Meagan has been distinguished with the 2018 Hillary Laureate for mid-career global leadership on poverty, climate change, social justice and peace; the 2019 Mother Theresa Award for Social Justice; Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

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Barefoot College
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Hybrid Social Enterprise
Sustainable Development; Education, Skills and Learning; Gender Parity
Areas of Impact
South Asia, Africa, Latin America, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bolivia, India

Barefoot College

Barefoot College demonstrates that illiteracy is not a barrier to poor communities developing themselves and that the most sophisticated technologies can be disseminated by poor rural men and women who can barely read and write. As such, thousands of people are trained each year to be teachers, doctors, midwives, dentists, health workers, solar engineers, water drillers and testers, hand pump mechanics, architects, artisans, designers, masons, communicators, computer programmers, and accountants.

The Barefoot campus itself is a testament to the quality of its training programmes. Barefoot-educated architects and masons constructed most of the campus out of low-cost materials and it is the only fully solar-powered college in India.

Barefoot engineers have also helped electrify 35,000 houses with solar energy in 1,000 villages in 37 countries, saving 4.6 million litres of kerosene from polluting the environment. Since 1986, Barefoot engineers have helped collect rainwater in 901 schools in remote villages in India as well as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia, Sierra Leone and Mali, providing water for drinking and sanitation to 2.65 million rural children. In addition, 1,513 rainwater harvesting structures have been built in rural schools and community centres with a total capacity of 96.65 million litres of water every year.