Swayam Shikshan Prayog provides clean energy to rural communities through ‘sakhis’ or women transformed into clean energy entrepreneurs
Indian NGO, Swayam Shikshan Prayog, has bagged the UN climate award this year. The NGO, which trains women to become clean energy entrepreneurs across Maharashtra and Bihar, is one of the 13 projects to be recognized at the forthcoming UN climate summit in Marrakesh in November. UNFCCC, the nodal UN climate body, applauded the project for building a rural distribution network of 1,100 women entrepreneurs facilitating access to clean energy, water and sanitation products and services in several communities. Swayam Shikshan Prayog has bagged UN climate award for 2016, one among the 13 across the world, only one from India and Asia Swayam Shikshan Prayog, a project in the clean energy sector includes various ways to provide energy to the rural communities through ‘Sakhis’ or women transformed into clean energy entrepreneurs by the organization. In an official release, the UNFCCC, the nodal UN climate body, has applauded this project for building a rural distribution network of 1,100 women entrepreneurs facilitating access to clean energy, water and sanitation products and services in several communities. The use of woodfire for cooking in rural areas has been identified as one of the primary causes of indoor air pollution, which contributes to global warming, and also causes respiratory illnesses. According to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2015, 67 percent of the population in India depends on traditional biomass for cooking, which, in absolute numbers, works out to 841 million people in the population.
The UNFCCC release cites how through the promotion of clean cookstoves by women entrepreneurs, over 200,000 women and households now save almost 100 tonnes per day of fuelwood.
For those who cannot afford to buy the solar lamps, priced between Rs. 500 to 700 and the cookstoves that cost between Rs. 2500-3000, Swayam Shikshan Prayog sold it to them thru women entrepreneur on credit and the villagers paid the women entrepreneur back in monthly installments when they could afford.