Eminent e-commerce based Asian direct selling company QNET announced a new project, which will bring solar energy to remote tribal communities in Meghalaya and upgrade the healthcare infrastructure in the region.
The project titled, 'Empowering North-East India', is in partnership with Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) through its social impact arm, the RYTHM Foundation.
The project aims to bring electricity to 470 villagers and solar power to a primary healthcare centre catering to more than 23,000 residents. In the initial phase, RYTHM Foundation has pledged its support to the project for one year.
Improving Living Conditions In Remote Areas
Since 2013, GHE has been working to improve living conditions in remote rural communities of the Himalayan mountain ranges by providing them access to clean energy and education. Many of these communities are off-the-grid and reachable only through treacherous terrain. GHE's objective is to improve and empower the lives of these communities by implementing technological solutions in a scalable, sustainable, and environmentally beneficial manner.
Previously, RYTHM Foundation partnered with GHE to bring solar energy to Rongdo village in Ladakh and has enabled digital education access to schools in other remote Himalayan regions of Ladakh like Skagyam and Sato villages.
To address the lack of energy access and healthcare facilities in Meghalaya villages, GHE and RYTHM Foundation embarked on this new partnership that takes a two-pronged approach. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this a priority since the healthcare centres in the area have been vital in COVID-19 treatment and vaccine delivery for these areas. With electricity access, expected outcomes include a significant decrease in infant mortality rate and a decline in deaths due to lack of access to critical care equipment.
The Empowering North-East India project is a holistic development plan for the tribal communities in the region to create a community-owned model running independently in the long term. The technology involved is a simple plug-and-play solar micro-grid solution installed in every household, with a solar panel with a battery pack wired with high-performance LED lights, mobile charging facilities, and low energy consumption motor fans.
"There is no grid line. Each home produces and consumes its energy. The future of electricity in India is becoming grid-independent so that household access to power is not susceptible to rainfall, hurricanes or other weather-related incidents," said Jaideep Bansal, the chief operating officer of GHE, according to India CSR.
Training To Villagers
GHE's trained engineers will install the grid and provide maintenance support. However, the organisation will also train villagers and equip them with solar grid maintenance and troubleshooting basics to ensure sustainability.
"At QNET, we live by the key philosophy of RYTHM, which stands for Raise Yourself To Help Mankind. RYTHM is about empowering people to strive to become their best selves and make a difference in their communities. QNET's CSR arm, RYTHM Foundation seeks to fund and support projects with a long-term transformational impact in underserved communities," Malou Caluza, CEO of QNET said.
Through this project, we hope to drive change in the remote areas of Meghalaya, by empowering them with access to electricity having direct impact on education, comfort, health, productivity, and more, leading to improved living standards," Caluza added.
The residents are also required to open a community bank account where every household contributes Rs. 100 on a monthly basis. These funds will be used for any maintenance, troubleshooting or servicing of the grid and managed by a Village Electricity Management Committee established by the people.
GHE has, so far, successfully brought solar electricity to over 150 villages in five regions across India, directly impacting over 100,000 lives.