Walkathon flagged off by Kapilaben Parmar, President – SEWA and Reemaben Nanavaty, Director – SEWA

  • ~250 number of women members from 27 villages participated in the walkathon
  • More than 100 number of students, part of AIESEC also joined the cause
  • The solar electrification campaign aims to install solar lights in 20246houses in 156 villages of Aravali District in Gujarat and Dungarpur in Rajasthan by 2017
  • Initiative aligned to Prime Minister’s objective of ensuring 24X7 power supply in every village by 2019

 

Ahmedabad, 2ndJune, 2016: In a country where one-fourth of the population lack access to electricity, the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)in association with The Coca-Cola India Foundation, Anandana, marked the celebration of World Environment Day by organising a solar walkathon to create awareness around the usage of the renewable energy resources and conserving the environment for a healthy future. The walkathon, where more than 250 women descended upon at SEWA Gram Mahila Haat, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad from 27 villages to participate, was flagged of by Kapilaben Parmar, President – SEWA and Reemaben Nanavaty, Director – SEWA. More than 100 students from the AIESEC Ahmedabad chapter also joined the rally in support of the cause.

With an aim to provide solar electricity in 20,246  householdsbenefiting more than 1,21,476 individuals in 156 villages of Aravali District, Gujarat and Dungarpur, Rajasthan; the partners and community members today reaffirmed their commitment of environment conservation and empowering more women in rural areas by using renewable energy resources.

The solar electrification of rural India campaign is also contributing to the Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s idea of providing electricity to all households by 2019. It is also committed to reduce the carbon foot prints of the rural poor women and their households.

The usage of renewable sources of energy especially solar power is highly imperative today to reduce the impact caused on environment through fossil fuels. Currently, energy consumption in several households in the remote villages of Gujarat are predominantly based on fossil fuels (coal, kerosene etc.) for lighting and other household chores. The smoke emission of kerosene lamps and inadequate light contributes to environmental hazard, economic deprivation, health risks and adverse impact on children education. The high dependence of India’s energy system on fossil fuel leads to an adverse effect on the environment too. According to a World Bank publication each liter of kerosene burnt produces 2.8 Kgs of CO2.

To promote the usage and highlight the need of solar energy in a day-to-day life, MahilaSewa Trust (MST) of Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in partnership with Anandana, The Coca-Cola India Foundation and The Coca-Cola Foundation (Atlanta) has implemented Project Jyoti in the villages of Gujarat. Launched in 2009, the project aims to provide sustainable energy access in the small and remotest villages of Gujarat and empower women through the use of solar lanterns. Till date the project has garnered a total fuel savings of approximately Rs. 70 lacs / monththereby reducing carbon footprint.

Speaking on the occasion, Kapilaben Parmar, President – SEWA , said, “Clean, highly efficient renewable energy is one key pillar to facilitate environmental protection and better livelihoods. It reduces the carbon foot prints of the rural poor women and their households. We are happy to successfully implement Project Jyoti in 23 villages which is benefitting17,958 villagers of Sabarkatha district and has empowered more than 17,000 women in Gujarat through the making and use of solar lanterns till date.”

Appreciating the efforts of SEWA, Yogesh Chandra, CEO, Anandana Foundation said,“Anandana’s consistent efforts to work towards environmental protection and empowering women in rural areas with the judicial use of renewable resources has been accomplished by its partnership with SEWA for undertaking Project Jyoti. Additionally, the foundation has installed several hand pumps in various villages so women doesn’t have to walk miles to fetch water and rather contribute their time effectively on assembling lanterns and other economic activities.”

Participating in the occasion Devik Sodha, President AIESEC Ahemdabad, said, “It gives me an immense pleasure to be associated with such a cause that not only impacts several lives but has a vision of building India’s future. We need support from organizations like Coca-Cola and need more such initiatives which has helped in a holistic growth of the country and light up lives across the nation.”

Lalita, who lives in one of these villages undertaken by Project Jyoti recalls, “We had no lights at home and so in the evenings it would become very dark for the children to study, and I would find it near impossible to even cook food. Going out after dark was dangerous. Our village has no streetlights and there was always the possibility of being bitten by snakes or attacked by wild animals. We had one kerosene lamp that we used sparingly, because kerosene is so expensive. We would spend nearly Rs.150/- every month. Over and above that, the kerosene lamp would give off noxious fumes. Our entire family used to suffer from that – constant headaches, irritation in the eyes and sore throats. We were also living in constant fear of accidents. There had been a couple of incidents of people mishandling the lamp in the dark, spilling the kerosene and setting off a fire.”

Anandana projects which operates under the umbrella of Anandana Foundation are undertaken in the fields of sustainable development and inclusive growth by focusing on issues relating to water, environment, healthy living and social advance. On the lines of foundation’s objectives, Coca-Cola India Foundation provides monetary grants in addition to other grass-root level assistance to NGOs, beneficiary organizations, cooperatives, philanthropies and other potential partners in implementing projects for social welfare across the country.

About The Coca-Cola Company and citizenship

The Coca-Cola Company has always placed high value on good citizenship. At the heart of business is a mission statement called the Coca-Cola Promise — “The Coca-Cola Company exists to benefit and refresh everyone that it touches.” This basic proposition means that the company’s business should refresh the markets, protect, preserve and enhance the environment and strengthen the community. Coca-Cola India provides extensive support for community programs across the country, with a focus on education, health and water conservation. For further information on Company’s India operations and its products, please visit www.coca-colaindia.com