NGO Bagged UN Climate Solutions Award:
Swayam Shikshan Prayog, an NGO which is training women to become clean energy entrepreneurs across the states of Maharashtra and Bihar, has bagged the UN climate award for 2016. This initiative is all set to become one of the 13 projects to be recognised at the forthcoming UN climate summit that is going to take place in Marrakesh, Morocco, in November.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) officially praised the project for its rural reach out, giving empowerment to over 1,100 women entrepreneurs making them representatives of clean energy. They are providing sanitation products and water services in different communities.
Many of the women entrepreneurs are from the drought-hit areas of Marathwada, and they are helping to shape a new identity of the place.
The NGO that had its inception in Mumbai in 1989, has received financial support from the state government, the US Agency for International Development, Misereor, Europe and CSR funds from HSBC and Alstom.
At this time, India is aiming for a boost in its renewable energy generation as the country has already ratified the Paris agreement on climate change. The clean energy entrepreneurs are striving to bring the change in rural belts.
Solar lights and cook stoves are the main products these women are distributing in villages. The solar lamps are priced between Rs 500 to 700, while the cook stoves cost between Rs 2,500-3,000. Even monthly instalments are offered to those who cannot pay for these products at one go.
One of the major reasons for the growing indoor pollution in the rural belt is the usage of the wood fire for cooking. An estimated 841 million people in India (67% of the total population) use traditional biomass for cooking, according to International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2015.
These clean cookstoves have been a revolutionary product in rural belts, as over 2,00,000 households now can save 100 tonnes of fuel wood every day.