Who we are? What we do? .....
There are Government Policies, schemes and programs related to clean energy (Rajiv Gandhi GrameenVidyutikaranYojana (RGGVY) 2005, Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) 2010, National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency, Mini Grid Policy, National Energy Policy, UnnatJyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA), Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP), Off-grid and Decentralized Solar Applications programme, UnnatChullaAbhiyan, Biogas Power Programme, State Rural Livelihood Mission(SRLM), Tribal Development Projects but low level of awareness at community level and less commitment and accountability on the part of the different duty bearers towards promotion of Clean Energy Solutions in the rural areas is a huge challenge. Recently, there has been entry of commercial energy solutions in forms of solar products, but most of these lack consistency in terms of availability, affordability, maintenance, quality and reliability. Most of the existing energy solutions are low on performance index as they are not made as per the local conditions and eventually fail due to lack of usage, repair and maintenance skills. There are few commercial enterprises, CSR companies and Micro-Finance Institutions(MFIs) trying to serve the rural energy market, but they too find challenge in finding appropriate platforms, volume and enterprising people to sustain and grow the business.
The action, “Rural Access to Clean Energy-RACE” focuses on strengthening the organizational capacities of local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the area of clean energy sector thereby ensuring Clean Energy Solutions (CES) for poor, vulnerable and marginalized groups through a ‘Rights based approach’ along with development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem for CES in the rural areas of Jharkhand.
The overall objective of the project is to capacitate 50 local CSOs and communities (4 Districts composed of 24 Blocks) in advocacy skills and active engagement in local policy-making to ensure that “Clean Energy Solutions (CES) are available, accessible and affordable for the tribal communities of Jharkhand.” The action directly works with 500 Government officials, 464 Panchayati Raj Representatives (PRIs), 100 Private Organizations and 464 Panchayat level forums to achieve the objectives of the action.The proposed action aims to create a strong platform to advocate and lobby for promotion of CES.
The sustainable way in which different stakeholders (Government, private sector and people) communicate, interact and connect is the very objective of the proposed action and basis of the program design.
a. Financial Sustainability: The project has been designed in a way that the financial liabilities are minimal even after the project ends. The project is basically about sensitizing the rural, tribal communities and the other stakeholders on the pressing issues of clean energy in their life. Once the people are aware and empowered enough to demand from the Government and other duty bearers their respective rights and exercise them, the target of the project is achieved. This awareness will build their confidence to be vocal against exploitation so that even if such situation arises in the future, they will have t the capacity to fight back. Through sensitization of the functionaries of the Government department, the service delivery related to CES, it is assumed, will improve and it will be reinforced as people start monitoring these service delivery institutions as well. If the people are aware and understand the importance of CES, they will find their own economic resources to go ahead with their issues if need be
The ownership of the project is that of the local NGOs already working in these areas. They would definitely continue with their activities even after the completion of this project. They have a long-standing partnership with the local people and will continue to help the people of the target area even beyond the project.
These NGOs through their network and influence can raise funds if required. Also the CES forums and network and their subsequent actions will influence the policy makers to bring about policy changes. It is assumed that the state budget allocations system would also increase.
b. Institutional Sustainability: Advocacy and capacity building go hand in hand especially when working onrights based approach. Whereas on the one hand it is necessary that the duty bearers be pressurized, through interface meetings, representation by community leaders, media reporting etc. to work towards ensuring implementation of the desired activities, it is also important on the other hand to make sure that all efforts are put in, through trainings, conferences, seminars etc. to build their capacities to do so in the most efficient and effective manner. This ultimately will ensure that quality in implementation is maintained and an efficient delivery mechanism is put in place. All these efforts are included in the project in order to secure the sustainability of the action.
The CES forums and Network is conceived and will be owned by the local level institutions including the village level organizations, NGOs and the community in general. Active CES Forums will be formed which will help to form a strong and capacitated platform to raise voice for clean energy rights. Children and youth will be made aware and on CES issues so that they also can become the future CES activists for their own rights. Thus, an institution will be initiated, owned and managed by the local communityduring the implementation of the project. However, its benefits will flow even after the project period is over.
From the very beginning an exit plan and withdrawal strategy have been included in the project plan. It has been made clear before starting the actual planning that ICCO will act as a facilitator, provide technical capacity building, policy advocacy and overall coordination support to make it possible for the local partners to start working properly as a consortium. This plan has been discussed in the stakeholder planning workshops and it has been understood by all of the stakeholders. Before starting each of the activities, the sustainability and continuation of them will be further discussed. By co-operation, exchange of ideas and best practices during the implementation of project activities local partners will have enhanced their institutional capacity and advocacy skills, thus strengthening the civil society as a whole.
c. Policy level Sustainability: The research and advocacy efforts will motivate and convince the policy makers to make the necessary modifications in the policy. The empowerment of the rural, tribal communities through this project will have a bearing on their way of life even beyond the project period. They will learn to assert their rights and ask for their rights from the Government. Once they start demanding their rights, Governmentwill start taking them more seriously.
The model manufacturing centres, one in each block are only meant for demonstration purpose to give a viable, alternative model of income and entrepreneurship around CES to the Government to replicate in various blocks. It may be noted that this will not be supported beyond the project period and will become the centre of learning on self-sustainable mode run by the local NGO partners. This model can be presented to the Government for emulation. Once this system is implemented, it will lead to a greater promotion of CES in the rural tribal communities and henceforth forge a path of progress.
d. Environmental Sustainability: The proposed action works on the environmental sustainability through various CES advocacy and capacity building activities for the Government, PRIs, CSOs and NGOs. The project creates awareness and demonstrations around CES among all sections of the society on the ill effects of traditional forms of energy like- wood, kerosene, etc. and encourages green and clean energy solutions likesolar energy, fuel efficient cook stoves, biomass, etc.