As per the SDG knowledge forum of the United Nations, a sizeable population of the world still lives in darkness. As of 2019, around 800 million people in the world did not have access to electricity. Lack of electricity acts as a stumbling block in the day today lives of people in many ways. Minimal or zero access to electricity stifles the average productivity of a normal person. Children cannot study for longer hours, health care centres cannot function properly, and people cannot move freely in the dark, especially women. If we talk about schools, the students cannot access modern educational tools hence broadening the digital divide. In India as per the parliamentary standing committee report on HRD (March 2020), 44% of govt. schools don’t have access to electricity which also means no access to computer education or the internet. In a rapidly changing world, access to modern educational tools is a pre-requisite for expanding the frontiers of knowledge and hastening socio-economic development.
The Lighting Lives programme focusses on last mile electrification of schools with less than 3 hours of electricity through solar energy and transforming the delivery of education by establishing digital labs and working with students to shape up their minds for a cleaner and greener future. The aim is to ensure rural children have access to a modern, technology aided learning experience.
The main objective of the programme is to transform education through energy access and sensitize the youth towards the importance of using renewables.
Community-based water management
Improving access to clean drinking water is an important pillar of ReNew’s CSR programme in the communities around its operations especially in the state of Rajasthan. In Rajasthan, ReNew Power is working closely with the local communities to construct Taankas- a traditional rainwater harvesting technique, common to the arid regions around Jaisalmer. It is meant to provide drinking water for a single or a small group of families and is an important element of water security in the region. Construction of taankas has also reduced the burden on women and adolescent girls, who traditionally were responsible for fetching water for their families and had to walk miles to the nearest water point. Till date, a total of 40 taankas have been constructed in arid regions of Rajasthan providing water to the marginalized families. ReNew has also de-silted 8 community lakes in Jaisalmer (Rajasthan) and Jath (Maharashtra) providing water to 15000 people across these two locations.
Till date, a total of 36 water RO/ filtration units have been installed , across government schools and communities, providing clean drinking water to thousands of students. The RO units range from 80 LPH to 1000 LPH, depending upon the size of the school and the community. ReNew Power through its Water Management Committees and School Management Committees is maintaining the day to day operations of these units and ensuring their sustainability.
ReNew Women India Initiative (ReWIN)
Women are particularly vulnerable to climate change because they are more prone to the adverse impacts from climate change. Their limited adaptive capacities arise from prevailing social inequalities and ascribed social and economic roles that manifest itself in differences in property rights, access to information, lack of employment and in-equal access to resources. Efforts towards ensuring access for women to productive resources, climate-smart and labour-saving technologies and practices is crucial to enhance achieve food security and nutrition, eradicate poverty and build resilience among rural households and communities.
There is a strong focus on women’s empowerment in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in the form of a dedicated Goal on Gender Equality (SDG5). One of the flagship programmes of ReNew Power is ReNew Women India Initiative (ReWIN), which is aimed at fostering economic independence for women by grooming them as entrepreneurs and enabling them to become ‘change-agents’ through capacity building programs and financial support. The programme also looks to instil in them requisite resilience for meeting the challenges of climate change and also gain access to the resources needed for survival.
Besides mentoring the beneficiaries to establish their business, ReNew Power along with its NGO partner also engaged with family members of the beneficiaries. Series of meetings were conducted with individual family members to share with them the details of the programme and their role in the journey. These women are also being recognized as “role models” in their own communities, acting as a source of inspiration for several other ladies of a similar profile who now believe they can emulate these trailblazers.
In phase 1 of REWIN, 6 model women entrepreneurs were identified from Jath village (Sangli district) in Maharashtra. As part of phase 2 of the programme, ReNew Power worked closely with these women to mentor and handhold them to establish their entrepreneurial ventures. Key components of phase 2 included activities like
- market survey
- undertaking risk analysis
- financial planning
- finalization of business plans
In 2019-20, ReWIN programme was expanded to Mandsaur (Madhya Pradesh) and Paniyara (Uttar Pradesh) as part of phase 1 of the programme, while the intervention was scaled up in Jath (Maharashtra) under phase 2.
In Mandsaur, the programme was rolled out in 5 villages. Local women were encouraged to form Common Interest Groups (CIG) on the basis of their area of business. 5 CIGs with a membership of 50 beneficiaries were formed in these villages. Since these women had no previous business experience, series of workshops on entrepreneurship development and financial management were organized. Mentoring sessions were held by local bank officials, who briefed them about the benefits of working as a group and how to avail benefits of various Government schemes.
Phase 1 of the programme was also rolled out in Paniyara in Uttar Pradesh in an effort to strengthen the economic & social condition of women. ReNew Power in partnership with district team of Uttar Pradesh State Rural Livelihood Mission (UPSRLM), facilitated the formation and strengthening of 52 Women Self Help Groups with a membership of 634 beneficiaries in 7 villages in and around Paniyara.
Series of capacity building programmes were organized for the SHG members in partnership with India Vegetable Research Institute (part of ICAR), local bank officials and UPSRLM to enhance income generating activities for members and help them work in groups.
There is a growing realisation that Information Communication Technology (ICT)-based education can create opportunities for children and the youth especially in rural India. Fostering the development of an ICT-embedded learning environment helps improve the effectiveness and efficiency of education in formal and non-formal settings, and it also helps acquaint, familiarise and skill students with digital tools and environments. ReNew Edu-Hub is an innovative rural community centre, focusing on improving education by using technology. The objective is to promote digital literacy & impart skill-training to local youth & children. As part of its efforts to promote ICT-based education in rural India, ReNew Power has established 9 Edu-Hubs in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Edu-Hub, Paniyara, Uttar Pradesh
Our Edu hub offers basic training as well as advanced courses CCC to children and the youth, to help them get better career perspectives. The centre provides free computer training to underprivileged rural students and the youth. From 2018 till date, over 300 children have completed the course at Edu hub.
The centre also offers training programs for farmers and members of Self Help Groups (SHGs). A series of training programmes have been organized in partnership with Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Indian Institute of Vegetable Research (IIVR) which were attended by around 400 farmers from Paniyara and surrounding villages. Along with the State Rural Livelihood Mission, basic training programs have been organized for SHG members.
Edu-Hub, Andhra Pradesh & Telangana
In the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Edu Hubs have been established in local schools in partnership with local school authorities. Around 250 children have completed the basic computer training program through these centres, last year.
ReNew Scholarship for Exceptional Talent (ReSET)
India is a country with a population of 1.3 billion people and a distinct demographic dividend. Approximately 62% of our population falls under the working age group which makes the youth of our country the most important stakeholder in the journey of our economic growth. Despite this, the youth, especially at the bottom of the pyramid struggle to express and display their talents. The ReNew Scholarship for Exceptional Talent (ReSET) is a programme launched in the year 2016 focussing on identifying young and aspiring underprivileged talents across different fields and giving them an opportunity and a platform to hone their skills to help them grow and pursue their ambitions in their field of choice.
Over the past 4 years, ReNew Power has been supporting 40 young squash prodigies from rural India through a talent development programme under ReSET. The main aim of the programme is to identify talented children passionate about squash and provide them with world class training facilities so as to help them build a career as a player at both national and international level. To achieve this, ReNew has partnered with David Palmer Squash Academy, founded by the former squash world no. 1, David Palmer, who acts as a mentor to the squash trainees. The trainings are organized at Gurugram and a small village in Uttar Pradesh called Paniyara, where a total of 40 squash trainees are groomed by nationally ranked coaches.