Solar Street Lamps Light Up 15 Villages

Solar Street Lamps Light Up 15 Villages

"At sunset, we would hurry to bring our livestock inside due to the frequent occurrence of livestock theft in the village,” says Sambuja Devi of Sirsi Village in Harnaut block in Bihar’s Nalanda district. The irregular supply of electricity in Sirsi frequently caused problems for the locals.

Livestock theft and the safety of the women(which in turn limited their mobility) was a matter of concern for the villages. Until Oxfam India-HDFC Bank’s Holistic Rural Development Project (HRDP)* initiative stepped in with a creative and sustainable solution.

Since 2020, 165 solar lights were installed in the 15 HRDP villages in the Harnaut, Hilsa, and Nagarnausa blocks of Nalanda district. These lights were a solution to the sporadic electricity  supply in the village and reduced its carbon footprint. Members of the Village Development Committee (VDC) chose the location for the installations. Priority was given to sites that would be a blind spot at night, and a source of concern and fear for the village residents.

For this initiative, Oxfam India collaborated with Jeevika (the Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society). The latter runs a project titled ‘J-Wires’ to promote sustainable forms of light-based devices. A technician associated with J-Wires provided training to local electricians so that minor issues could be resolved in the village itself, and VDC members have taken charge of maintaining the street lights.

As a result of this training, local electricians now have the opportunity to work in the rapidly growing field of solar appliances. Sanjeet Kumar, an electrician from Sirsi (and a 12th standard graduate), says: "I work as an electrician in my community and nearby villages, and this training has taught me the fundamentals of maintaining solar street lights. I'm eager to improve my knowledge of solar appliances because they are more in demand right now.” All 15 villages now have solar lights installed, and some of the areas with solar street lighting have even turned into popular post-dinner gathering places.

*Oxfam India-HDFC Bank’s HRDP initiative ‘Project Utthan’ contributes towards the socio-economic empowerment of people from marginalised communities by aiding them with sustainable livelihood options and improving access to essential services (especially women) across 15 villages in three blocks in Nalanda.

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