- A social enterprise established to address the issue of energy poverty in India's urban poor communities
- Core aim as empowering the local enterprenuers and improving their lives
- Been selling solar lights to slum communities for over 12 months with coverage of upto 30,000 people so far
Pollinate Energy is a social business with a simple mission – to improve the lives of India’s urban poor by giving them access to life-changing and affordable renewable energy products. They do this by training local people who are passionate about helping these communities - the Pollinators - to run a small business providing these products to those who need it the most. With a focus on sustainable energy solutions, such as portable solar lights to replace kerosene and improved cookstoves, people are able to reduce indoor smoke, have better quality light, use less fuel and save money. Pollinate Energy is now expanding into new areas, so that they can leverage their efficient distribution network to bring more products to the urban poor communities.
In 2014, Arup engaged with Pollinate Energy to help them select and distribute a clean water solution. The project aimed at providing access to clean drinking water for beneficiaries of the slum communities in India in a sustainable way. Arup was approached by Pollinate Enrergy, based in Australia and India, to provide technical support to assess and introduce water treatment technologies appropriate for the slum communities.
The project was carried out in a phase wise basis. The first phase consisted of testing and trialling water filter products to assess suitability for distribution to the slum communities. The second phase (Young Professionals Program) involved capacity development of Pollinate Energy by means of training their local staff in sales and distribution of water filter products.
The project provided a rewarding opportunity for Arup to broaden our knowledge and understanding of appropriate water treatment technologies fit for poor and often itinerant slum communities; and also provide an insight into social business.
Based on Pollinate Energy's previous experience in assessing and introducing appropriating solar energy products for lighting, they proposed the following methodology:
Phase 1: Trials and Testing Assess available products and choose the most appropriate one for the communities. The tasks included performing assessments of community water sources and quality, developing testing methodology for water filtration products, performing product trials and evaluations with communities, developing a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation solution within Pollinate Energy’s custom sales force application. Arup input in this phase involved two (2) site visits and remote provision of technical support from Autralia to assist with testing and reviewing water quality assessments in communities; supporting product trial phases and product quality assessments; supporting development of appropriate testing methodology for new communities, considering possible health/safety risks etc.
Phase 2: Capacity Development (Young Professionals Program) to build Pollinate Energy's capacity to train new Pollinators in sales and distribution of these products. The tasks included international program participants partnering with local Pollinators to build customer bases, developing new training processes for water filter devices, supporting Pollinators in their first sales of water filter products. Arup's involvement in this phase consisted of three (3) weeks of volunteer site work by two (2) Arup staff, with atleast one staff preferrably involved with Phase 1, to assist Pollinate Energy with the above tasks and also provide an opportunity for Arup staff to learn about appropriate etchnology and social business
Phase 3: Product Roll out with Pollinate Energy to train and develop all existing and future Pollinators in sales and distribution of water filter devices as per the methodologies developed during the trial and capacity building phases.
From my short time visiting these communities, the difference in health from a family with solar lighting, to a family that still uses kerosene for their lamps, is mind-blowing.
Josh Forte, Arup, Melbourne