Video | Self-help for and by members of rural communities in need of modern facilities: A video by Tribal Community Lab – Odisha

Ratha Duria from Rishabh Raghavan on Vimeo.

Ratha Duria discusses his solar energy run kiosk in Gunpur, Kalahandi, Orissa and the need for such interventions.

“We looked at a few solutions that would be cost effective and less effort to access these simple services [i.e. photo copying and taking photographs for identity cards] run on solar and in my village.”

A film by Rishabh Raghavan on a project facilitated by the Tribal Community Lab (TCL) for Selco Foundation

Photo © Livemint >>

Harish Hande | Here comes the sun

This innovator made the solar lamp a vehicle not just for electricity, but for education and independence […]

Hande, 47, won the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2011 because the ideas at Selco (Solar Electric Light Company—India), the solar energy equipment supplier company he co-founded in 1994, shine brighter than the lights it sells to the poor.

Take, for instance, Selco’s Light For Education project whose participants include around 30,000 children in Karnataka. Solar panels are installed on school premises and the battery, about the weight of a lunch box, is given to children. Children charge the batteries when they come to school. If they don’t come to school, there’s no light at home. “We stole the idea from the midday meals scheme,” says Hande. Stole and innovated.

Or the way Selco tackled the unique problem faced by a community of poor drum-makers in Bangalore. […]

Around 1.2 billion of the world’s population doesn’t have access to reliable electricity, and 400 million of these people live in India. Hande, who jokes that while growing up, his bread and butter came from a coal-fired plant in Rourkela (his father worked in power distribution at the Steel Authority of India), understood early that coal and gas wouldn’t be enough to meet India’s growing energy needs. […]

But he hopes he can someday convince urban children to partner with fellow Indians who don’t speak their lingo. “How do I tell kids that we are all part of the same society? That they need to learn from each other to create some sort of social equity? How to make kids interested in solving problems?” […]

“How do I tell kids that we are all part of the same society? That they need to learn from each other to create some sort of social equity?”

At Selco at least, they try to break these barriers. Nearly 85% of Selco’s employees, including chief operating officer Mohan Hegde (a practising folk artist on weekends), come from rural India. […]

Hande sees the poor as asset creators, and not as a bottom of the pyramid sales opportunity. “Don’t sell to the poor. That’s our fundamental rule. And if you’re selling to the poor, make sure that the value you’re giving to the poor is much more than the monetary value they give you back,” he says.

So when Selco representatives found that 32 Sidi families in rural Karnataka spent more money annually on candles, kerosene and to charge their mobile phones than it would cost to set up a simple solar system, they had to fix this. No bank was willing to lend the money to these families, so Selco offered a 100% guarantee on their behalf. Six months later, the bank reduced this guarantee to 20% as the payments were regular. “The best response was from the Sidis,” says Hande. “They said, light is great but once the solar loan is done, I will take a loan for a sewing machine.” They had become bankable.

Source: Harish Hande | Here comes the sun by Priya Ramani, Livemint, 9 August 2014

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

Contact details provided as part of the film credits

Tribal Community Lab
Madan Mohan Street
Mandir Bagicha Pada
Kalahandi District
Odisha 766001
Ph +91-6670232477
[email protected]

Date accessed: 31 August 2015


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