After the successful completion of the Mahindra MPowered Village initiative in two villages of Kushinagar, which used energy access through Solar Power as a tool for development, Mrida has rolled out the same initiative at the district level, focusing on 9 villages at one go. Mrida has now ensured that these Mahindra MPowered villages are lit up, benefitting more than 185 households.
Mrida is a Social Business Venture that seeks to build sustainable and scalable, financially viable business models aimed at holistic rural development. The focus on development stays centre-stage with the MPowered District initiative and the effort is on using energy access as a tool for development. After villages Belwa ulf Belwania and Jhajhwa, the Mahindra MPowered Village initiative has move to 9 more villages/hamlets, which will benefit from this district level initiative. These villages are: Kashi Tola, Chilwan Tola, Ragarganj, Chakani Bhumiyari Patti, Lehni II, Chakani Puran Chapra, Chakani Bhoj Chapra, Mishrauli and Inderpur.
Undertaking a baseline survey that covered 100% of the households in these villages, a need assessment mapping was done. The top issue was electrification, which was undertaken. An impact assessment study revealed that this initiative has led to the saving of around 1983 litres of Kerosene consumption, leading to reduction of around 4.96 tons of CO2 emissions. The total numbers of lives impacted are around 2500.
The other issues of these villages like livelihood generation and skill training, social issues like women empowerment, etc. are now being looked at. Since these are rural communities, the focus is on agri-interventions and providing requisite training.
“After witnessing the amazing on-ground impact in the first phase, it was logical to scale up the intervention and take it to the next (District) level. Today, we take pride in the fact that this unique initiative in conjunction with the Mahindra & Mahindra AFS (Automotive & Farm Sector) CSR team is making a difference in people’s lives and offering them an opportunity to eke out a better living by imparting livelihood generation trainings and skilling them”, says Arun Nagpal, Co Founder, Mrida Group.
Shubhabrata Saha, Senior VP, Sales, Channel & Customer Care, Mahindra (Farm Division) said that “The Farm Division of the Mahindra group has been actively engaged in bringing prosperity to rural India through farm mechanization for the upliftment of farming communities. Under the M POWERED program we piloted an initiative to bring solar powered electricity to District Kushinagar. These small hamlets, which had never seen electricity thus far, now have 2 LED Bulbs and a mobile charging point per household. In keeping with the philosophy that giving away things for free rarely creates lasting and sustainable impact, a small connection fee and a monthly charge for energy access is being charged. The money collected will go into a Village Development Fund and will be managed by a Village Development Committee. The fund will ensure that the money is rotated within the village for its sustainable development over time. So far, more than 185 households have paid the connection fee and taken connections. Typically, a small group initially participates in such initiatives, and others follow in due course. The process of installing Solar LED Street Lights has also been completed – 40 lights have been installed at key locations in these villages.”
Other plans on the anvil include agricultural interventions in conjunction with the local Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), a Solar Powered E-Hub to provide education, entertainment and e-commerce facilities, a battery operated e-rickshaw, and a health/hygiene/sanitation drive – the entire initiative is geared towards facilitating sustainable and holistic development to transform these underserved communities into Mahindra ‘MPowered’ Villages/Hamlets.