June 24, 2021
Over the last few years our donation to Barefoot College has been focused on building capacity in Guatemala. The results have been truly amazing, and proof that when you unleash goodness it has a tendency to multiply.
Our first objective was to create scholarships for women to train as solar engineers. Now we have several Guatemalan women who have graduated and are actively transforming the energy future of their communities.
And this is where the story gets very interesting. These women have not stopped at solar, they are building businesses, they are sharing their learnings, they are empowering other women in their communities. During the pandemic our donation largely helped to fund a training hub in Guatemala. Traditionally all women would go to India, to the home of Barefoot College, to receive their training, but now there will be a College in South America.
What we are most excited about is that we have just received our first 'green beans' from B. Barefoot in Guatemala. Several Barefoot graduates have set-up an organic, renewably powered, fairly traded, community owned coffee enterprise and we are bringing the coffee here to the UK.
As I write this the first beans to arrive in the UK are being roasted and we can't wait to be able to introduce this coffee to our wider community.
When we started our partnership with Barefoot College we had no idea how it would evolve and how transformational Barefoot's model would prove to be. If you want to put it in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals:
Our partnership with Barefoot College is geared towards tackling as many SDGs, simultaneously, as possible. By offering scholarships to women from rural communities, often with no experience or formal education, to train as solar engineers (who subsequently deploy and maintain renewable energy infrastructure in their communities), by further funding Barefoot’s ENRICHE programme (which delivers health education, among other things) and by supporting a new Barefoot hub for South America (which is spawning local businesses for coffee, chocolate and other goods, as well as Pending B Corps) we contribute to virtually all of the Goals:
Goals 1 (No Poverty),
Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-Being),
Goal 4 (Quality Education),
Goal 5 (Gender Equality),
Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy),
Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth),
Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure),
Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities),
Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production,
Goal 13 (Climate Action) and of course,
Goal 17 (Partnerships for the Goals) as this wouldn’t be possible without our unique partnership.
We also had no idea that there would one day be coffee, and the potential for a genuine trading partnership between ourselves and our former beneficiaries.
If you would like to stay up-to-date with their coffee progress, get in touch!
If you would like to learn more about Barefoot College, you can find them here.
This year, our donation of £30,600.00 is not only our largest one made to them, but it is also enough to fund TEN scholarships!