AROH Foundation

Location: India

AROH Foundation is an Indian NGO which provides effective assistance to marginalised communities, especially women, through skill development; livelihood generation; and, access to education, health, water and sanitation.

One of NextEnergy Groups employees, Mrigendra Kumar Rai, identified a project with AROH to install solar street lights in India. NextEnergy Foundation is financing the installation of 150 solar street lights in 10 villages across the Varanasi District, Uttar Pradesh. The villages were selected based on AROH’s existing presence and because they lack the adequate infrastructure for adequate power supply.

There are four project aims:

  • Improved safety and security for villagers, especially women and children;
  • Ease in taking up social and economic activities during later evening hours;
  • Reduced threat from wild animals, snakes, etc.; and,
  • Better understanding about renewable source of energy and maintenance of lights.

The installations will be completed over the next six months and an update will be provided shortly afterwards. Mrigendra will also be visiting some of the villages following the project completion. NextEnergy Foundation thanks Mrigendra for his engagement with the Foundation and is excited that he will be able to oversee the project’s inauguration in person.

May 2023 Update: On 21st May, one of WiseEnergy’s colleagues, Mrigendra Kumar Rai, visited three villages where the installation is in progress: Tikari, Narottampur, and Sarai Dangari. Out of the ten villages identified for SSL installations, AROH has completed the installations in five and the remaining five villages are expected to have their installations completed within the next two weeks.

Mrigendra reported back the following:

Based on my observations, I would like to highlight a few key points. Firstly, the quality of the equipment used in the SSLs installations seems good quality. Secondly, the installation work was carried out satisfactorily. The technicians involved in the process were skilled and efficient, ensuring that the SSLs were installed properly.

[The visit] was an insightful experience. The villagers who have already benefited from the SSLs were extremely grateful for the initiative…I would like to express my gratitude for supporting this project and for me to witness the positive impact of our work firsthand.

July 2023 Update: The installations are now complete in all ten villages. Overall, the SSLs are serving 45,000 community members. As a result of the project:

  • Night-time security has improved for the villagers, especially women and children
  • Villagers have a better understanding about the power of renewable sources of energy to improve livelihoods
  • Community groups have been formed and trained to monitor the lights and take responsibility for their maintenance

The SSLs have been geo-tagged to track their performance over their lifetime.

December 2023 Update: a key phase of the project has started with the full involvement of the community in the maintenance of the SSLs and the monitoring of the operations.

AROH team is focusing on the set up of the Village Committees in charge of taking proper care of the installed solar lights. These community-based groups will be empowered and enabled to take on some activities of the program. This is most essential, as the involvement of the community will ensure long-term financial support as well as program sustainability.

This phase is very successful as the members of the local community grew a strong interest in the development of alternative source of electricity, got involved in the maintenance of the installed solar lighting systems and showed the willingness to install the subsidized solar light systems at their house premises. At the time of this update, 144 out of 150 SSLs are properly working.

March 2024 Update: the phase of involvement of local communities is progressing. Village Development Committees (“VDC”) have been created to ensure active participation in community engagement, awareness initiatives within villages, and monitoring of the SSLs. AROH team is intended to facilitate training programs for selected young individuals of the villages, thereby empowering the community to independently manage future repair tasks utilizing their collective contributions. At the time of this update, 141 out of 150 SSLs are properly working.