Dear friends and supporters,
It has been a little over 5 months since we began our journey in Gaya, South Bihar with the aim of deploying a human -powered lighting solution to off-grid villages. Although there have been many challenges and a lot of learning on the ground, I am happy to report that 5 months into the project we are well on our way to achieving its goals!
We have set up 4 recharge kiosks and struck partnerships with 3 wonderful rural women's cooperatives or 'Federations'. Our first ‘NURU Recharge’ Station was set up in partnership with the Aadarsh Mahila Vikas Swablambi Sahakarita Samiti, a cooperative comprising of more than 8000 women and their families in Bankey Bazar block, Gaya district, Bihar, India. After a number of discussions with the federation’s Board of Directors (a freely elected body of rural women representatives for the cooperative) oard and with villagers themselves through at various stakeholder discussions, a meeting was held on April 2nd, 2012, to select the Women entrepreneurs that would run our first Recharge Station, select its location and select and train a Recharge Service Provider to man and operate the NURU POWERCycle. Our first women entrepreneurs, Meena devi and Sangeeta Kumari were selected on April 3rd and worked closely with us and our NGO partner Indian Grameen Services (IGS) to select a Recharge Service Provider. Bechubiga, a village of 120 households in Bankey Bazaar block was selected as the first village for the lighting intervention on the basis of a successful village meeting attended by the community, Federation members, the selected women entrepreneurs, Nuru Energy's local management and our NGO partner in the area, IGS on April 4th, 2012.
Over 90% of the households in Bechubiga have electricity connections but none of them receive more than 5-6 hours of electricity per day. As such, like much of the rest of Bankey Bazaar block, Bechubiga's residents rely on kerosene lamps for light when the sun goes down.
On April 7th, 2012 our first recharge station in Bihar was launched in Bwchubiga village. Since then 45 households are receiving recharging services for the NURUlights they purchased from the women entrepreneurs.
In June, July and August Nuru Energy's team in Bihar set up 3 more recharge stations: 1 in Kubadi Bhaital, Bankey Bazaar with the same federation and 2 in Immamganj, Immaganj block and Gunuaar Mohanpur block resepctively. The last 2 recharge stations have been set up in partnership with 2 more women's federations, i.e., the Chand Mahila Vikas Swablambi Sahakarita Samiti in Immamganj and the Buddha Mahila Vikas Swablambi Sahakarita Samiti in Mohanpur. Each of these recharge stations are serving as pilot projects for our partnership with the Federations.
We are happy to report that each Recharge Station is serving 20 or more rural households and we hope to achieve 60 households per recharge station by November 1st this year.
We are also happy to report that we are currently in talks with the Bihar Rural Livelihood Promotion Society (BRLPS) or Jeevika, a World Bank funded initiative that implements a wide variety of sustainable rural development and capacity building interventions. We plan to officially launch a recharge station through this partnership in November this year. For more on BRLPS, please feel free to visit their website: http://brlp.in/
It is heartening to see the model in action and we cannot thank our donors enough for their generous support of this pioneering project! We hope you will continue to support this project as it evolves and brings light to the lives of many more of the wonderful people of Gaya, Bihar. With over a 100 families now receiving the benefits of NURU's sustainable technology in the area, we can safely say, we are just getting started!
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries.
Director of M&E and Partnerships
Nuru Energy - India
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