Rural women in Gujarat get energy-efficient products

Friday, May 25, 2012

AHMEDABAD: International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is helping Ahmedabad-based Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) provide energy-efficient cook stoves and solar lanters to its members. IFC will provide a partial credit guarantee for a $5 million loan that an Indian private sector bank is providing to SEWA-sponsored Grassroots Trading Network for Women.

Under the initiative, women from various villages in Gujarat will be provided a loan to buy the combination of stove and lantern, at Rs 2,800 and Rs 1,800 respectively. At an installment of Rs 300 per month for 16 months, SEWA aims to offer the scheme to 2 lakh members in order to pioneer sustainable clean energy solutions for the poor. While the stove will be manufactured in Gujarat, the lantern will be produced in Uttarakhand.

“This project is called Hariyali, meaning green, because it will provide green livelihoods to poor rural women members of SEWA,” said Reema Nanavaty, director, SEWA at an agreement signing event on Thursday. The project aims to create a replicable business model for application in South Asia and other parts of Asia and Africa. The project will reduce the expenses on firewood, kerosene and electricity, reducing the risk of respiratory diseases from smoke inhalation, and improving ambient lighting for children to study. Kapilaben, a SEWA member from Anand, said, “The lantern has many uses for farmers like us. My flower farm is a bit far from my house and I was scared of going to the farm before sunrise to pluck buds. As it runs on solar, we are not charged a single penny even if my children use it all night to study.”

Source: Times of India (link opens in a new window)