Film on solar grandmas wins best documentary at Zanzibar fest

Film on solar grandmas wins best documentary at Zanzibar fest

"No Problem! Six Months with the Barefoot Grandmamas", a documentary that traces the lives of rural African women studying in Rajasthan to be solar engineers, won the best documentary film award at the Zanzibar International Film Festival, considered to be the biggest film festival in East Africa.

The Zanzibar International Film Festival, in the citation for the documentary made by Delhi-based filmmaker Yasmin Kidwai, described it as a "rare depiction of successful South-to-South cooperation".

It said the documentary is a "skilful documentary by a visibly confident and compassionate female director on women who go from being considered 'illiterate' to being called 'engineers' and repositioning themselves in their communities".

The film was also awarded the The Ousmane Sembène Films for Development Award, the highest award at the festival given to a film which best focuses on a development issue and presents it in an entertaining manner, a statement said.

The documentary is about the rural solar electrification project run by Barefoot College in Tilonia, where illiterate rural women from all over the world, particularly Africa, are being trained as solar engineers. The film was produced by her company, Spring Box Films Pvt Ltd, and funded by India's external affairs ministry.

The Barefoot Solar Engineers are trained under the ministry's highly successful Solar Engineer Plan as part of its India Technical Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme.
Since the ITEC collaboration started in 2008-2009, over 150 grandmothers have come from over 29 of the Least Developed Countries - mostly from Africa - and have solar electrified around 10,000 houses in 118 villages.

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