Rocketboom, one of my favorite vlogs, did an interview with the founders of the Barefoot Foundation a few days ago. This is a great piece about bringing sustainable energy to villages in India. The Barefoot Foundation seems to take a microfinance-style approach, similar to that of the Grameen Foundation, of training a lady from a village to perform a service for the village, and thereby becoming a village leader. (Although I an unclear about the extent to which the "finance" part of microfinance applies in this case, as the founders do not discuss the finance model they use in this project).
Certainly villagers will be able to use this energy for lighting, air conditioning, and other household conveniences. But beyond that, they will also be able to use it to power radios and televisions, Internet access kiosks, and even net cafes. The potential for this project to, at least in part, facilitate information access in rural parts of India is immense, and I will be very interested to observe the development of this project in te coming months and years.
Contributed by Aaron Bowen