Mahindra & Mahindra - Kushinagar District, U.P
“MPowered Village Program”
With Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funding from Mahindra and Mahindra, the Mrida Heart ‘n Soil Foundation launched the “MPowered Village Program” in 2015-16, in the un-electrified villages of Kushinagar. Eleven villages have been covered so far under the program in this district.
Although funding comes from the sponsoring company’s CSR for infrastructure, under the MPowered Village Program the overriding principle is “nothing for free” and “self-sustainability”. Engaging the community at every stage and building local leadership are essential components of the program to ensure sustainability. A total of 404 households are being benefited through this program.
Solar Streetlights, Solar Microgrids & Livelihood:
So far, 18 microgrids for 259 households, 69 street lights, 2 Solar-powered E-hubs and 3 battery-run rickshaws have been set up. Through this initiative, we have ensured that all the villages are electrified. The villagers have access to computers at the E-Hubs through which some beneficiaries have learnt basic computer skills, the E-Hub also serves as a livelihood opportunity, and provides entertainment services to the locals. The E-Rickshaws run on clean energy, and have made commuting between villages easier for the locals, apart from serving as a source of income for the Village Level Entrepreneurs.
Village Development Committee:
The Village Development Committee (VDC) is elected from among the villagers. The VDC is assigned the responsibility of maintaining accounts and collecting payments for beneficiaries availing the connection to the grid and the monthly charges from the beneficiary households for two LED bulbs and a mobile charging point per household. A separate bank account has been opened in which the monthly collections are deposited as the village development fund. The VDC is responsible for managing the microgrid as well as the funds used for grid maintenance and other development initiatives. The revenues earned are ploughed back into livelihood initiatives to raise the income level of villagers. A sports club 'Panchi Sporting Club' was created and currently has 18 members in Inderpur.
In the Khushinagar district, the OSAAT (One School At A Time) project has been initiated in Lahni - II. VDC meetings were held, and an SOP was created for the same. Three schools in the Khushinagar district have been repainted and renovated. The renovations include the provision of furniture (chairs & tables), renovation of the floors of the schools, as well as the renovation of the kitchens and toilets. The schools in Lahni- II, Jhajhwa and Bhumiyari Patti have been repainting, the schools have been given fresh tiling & toilets have been constructed.
The E-Hub has been set up with an Aadhaar enabled system, installed via Pay Nearby.
Health & Hygiene:
The field team in Khushinagar undertook a project to make the village Inderpur plastic free - the project is still in process. The school students of 3 villages in the Khushinagar district - Lahni, Indrapur & Kashi Tola were mobilized. They were organized into groups, and trained on public hygiene. The students were motivated to make their villages plastic free, which was supported by providing dustbins. The school students from the villages now take the initiative and ownership of ensuring that their villages are clean. In Lahni - II, the 'Swachh gaon abhiyan' campaign has been initiated, and dustbins have been installed across the village.