In India, many people live in poverty. For women, job opportunities are scarce. To help deal with this problem, Pollinate Group organises entrepreneurship training courses for women who live in areas of poverty. The training courses give women a chance to help their communities escape from poverty.
Cheaper, cleaner and safer light
Many people use kerosene to light their homes in India. For 2 hours of light, they pay 10 rupees per day. Besides the cost, the vapours are often unbearable and there is a risk of fire. Lamps that run on solar power are cheaper and better for lighting a room. This contributes to the quality of life. For example, by helping children see while they do their homework.
Pollinate Group trains women to earn an income by selling solar-powered lamps. These lamps are cheaper, more sustainable and safer than traditional kerosene lamps. They give off better light, too.
Shining a light on women
The women sell the lamps in their communities. Sujatha Ramani, Pollinate Group Director explains, "These women are eager to change their lives. We train them and help them buy their first stock. The income the women earn from this work improves their position and status, first within their families, and later in the community in general.”
Pollinate Group calls the saleswomen suryamukhis, meaning sunflowers. Suryamukhi is a feminine word. Surya is the Sanskrit word for sun. It stands for the feminine aspect. The name is perfect for the kind of emancipation we want to achieve.”
Deep and lifelong impact
Many businesses are hesitant to invest in certain communities in India. Mrs Ramani explains, “These people’s lives are unpredictable. Often, they live in the city for 18 months and then return to their home village. We train the women in skills they can continue to use back in their villages. Our goal is to have a deep and lifelong impact. Women can use their income to send their children to school. This way, we also reach future generations.”
Pollinate Group uses the SDG7 Results subsidy scheme. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency pays the subsidy once the project is finished. The subsidy amount is based on the results achieved. Mrs Ramani, “This motivates us to aim higher, to sell more sustainable lamps. The subsidy makes it easier for us to access the market and scale up our activities. This way, we make these communities less dependent on fossil fuels.”
Pollinate Group gives low-income communities access to inexpensive and sustainable energy. By doing so, the company is helping to meet sustainable development goal 7 (SDG7): inexpensive and sustainable energy for everyone. By putting women in charge, it is also taking a step towards SDG5, gender equality. Sujatha Ramani says, “We want to give women the power to get out of poverty.” The Netherlands Enterprise Agency funds this project on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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