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Meagan Fallone

Chief Executive Officer, Barefoot College; Founder and Director, Barefoot College International, a hybrid social enterprise. Currently steering the global footprint of the Barefoot College expansion to 96 countries in the Global South, building 5 Barefoot Women's Vocational Training Colleges in sub-Saharan Africa and 1 in the Pacific Islands. Leading a significant move by the organization to digital integration as a route to dissemination of sustainable livelihoods, financial inclusion, environmental stewardship, technical mastery, and enterprise skills in the hands of the rural poor illiterate/semi-literate women the college trains. Believer in developing innovative public, private and technology partnerships that enable grassroots innovation to scale through low- and high-technology adoption by the rural poor and demystifying and decentralizing ownership, fabrication, repair and maintenance. Barefoot College’s work on access to energy and the development of women's critical thinking skills, digital STEM education for rural children and extensive curriculum development across gender and citizenship, is recognized globally. 2018 Hillary Laureate, recognized for mid-career global leadership on poverty, climate change, social justice and peace; recipient of the 2019 Mother Theresa Award for Social Justice. Barefoot College is a Skoll Awardee for Social Enterprise. Alumna, University of Connecticut, University College London and Harvard.

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Barefoot College
Hybrid Social Enterprise
Sustainable Development; Education and Skills; 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.