By Sue Adkins, International Director, Business in the Community
Pollinate Energy improved the lives of India's urban poor by providing access to sustainable technology through microfinance, using a network of local distributors, termed 'Pollinators'.
300 million people in India live in energy poverty. Without electricity, they are dependent on wood fires and kerosene lamps. These cause indoor air pollution and respiratory illness, killing over 100,000 children each year.
Pollinate Energy provides people in urban slum communities with alternatives – sustainable technology products such as solar lights, smoke reducing stoves and water purification units – and provides microfinance loans to pay for them. After paying off a loan within a few weeks, customers own that product and are no longer tied to continually purchasing kerosene.
The company employs local micro-entrepreneurs - the Pollinators - and trains them in door-to-door sales, creating a sustainable and replicable micro-distribution network.
Pollinate Energy has now installed over 7,700 sustainable technology systems, reaching 35,600 people in 519 urban slum communities.
What Pollinate Energy India's co-founder said: "Pollinate Energy’s project success is partly due to being technologically agnostic, allowing us to source the most affordable and supported sustainable technologies that we know, through customer surveys, will significantly enhance the health, wellbeing, lifespan and earning potential of India’s urban poor. The products currently include solar lights, smoke reducing cook stoves, and water purification units.
"We intend to replicate the success of our pilot ‘hive’ in Bangalore, where we trained 20 micro-entrepreneurs (Pollinators). By 2020 we will establish 50 more hives in Indian cities providing sustainable networks and life-changing technologies to over 4.5 million people, preventing thousands of childhood deaths from indoor air pollution and yielding a collective saving of AUD200 million." - Katerina Kimmorley, Co-Founder, Pollinate Energy India
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