“Solar Mama” Edina Levitico is bringing renewable energy to her village.
“It’s improved my own life a lot directly,” she said. “For example, my children can read at night.”
Just 11% of Malawi’s population is estimated to have access to electricity. In 2016 Levitico was one of eight women to take a six-month course in solar engineering at India’s Barefoot College. She took what she learned back to her home in Kainja Village and powered classrooms with three other women who went through the program and helped transforms at least 200 homes from candle to solar power.
50.7% of Malawi’s population lives below the poverty line. Levitico says she earns a steady income installing and maintaining the panels.
“We received solar power training in India,” she said. “Anyone in my village who gets the Home Lighting system has to pay $1.40 USD per month for the installation and maintenance. For those with just the small solar panel with lantern and charge point, they pay $0.70 U.S. cents per month.”
The “Solar Mama” project Levitico attended is part of a collaboration between India’s Barefoot College and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). The project enrolls and empowers women from eight rural villages in Malawi, many of whom are illiterate are weren’t able to finish primary school.