03 Oct 2007
Grameen Shakti has received a Right Livelihood Award for bringing sustainable light and power to thousands of Bangladeshi villages.
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The Grameen Shakti organisation received the Right Livelihood Award for bringing sustainable light and power to thousands of Bangladeshi villages, promoting health, education and productivity.
Grameen Shakti (shakti meaning “energy” in Bengali) was created in 1996 as a not-for-profit company under the Grameen Bank. Its goal is to promote and supply renewable energy technology at an affordable rate to rural households of Bangladesh. They use the Bank’s experience in micro financing to make renewable energy applications affordable for poor rural people.
The company employs 1500 field staff and has trained 1000 engineers and 1000 local technicians in renewable energy technology. It has built up a network of 390 village unit offices. These allow them to reach the 135m inhabitants in rural areas where there is no electricity grid and therefore no access to light or power. The village unit offices promote renewable energy technologies. By June 2007 they had installed more than 110,000 solar home systems in 30,000 villages. Currently, more than 4000 solar home systems are being installed per month. The installation rate is growing. with a target of 1 million by 2015. Additionally, four wind energy plants, 1000 biogas plants, three solar thermal projects and nine solar-powered computer training centres have been created. The biogas programme is linked to the emerging poultry and livestock industry in Bangladesh with a focus on market slurry as a replacement for chemical fertiliser.
Grameen Shakti has always sought to involve the local community in the planning, implementation and maintenance of solar home systems. Its’ technology centres are managed mainly by women engineers, who train women as solar technicians. Seven technology centres are already in operation and there are plans to expand to thirty, training 2000 women technicians.
Managing Director of Grameen Shakti, Dipal Barua, has been working closely with Muhammad Yunus since 1976 as Deputy Managing Director of Grameen Bank. Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.
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