A microfinance provider in Karnataka has been selected alongside seven other organisations from Peru, Indonesia, Cambodia, Africa and Afghanistan as a finalist for the Ashden Awards, the world’s leading green energy prize. The finalists will compete for over £120,000 prize money, with the winners to be announced at a prestigious ceremony in London on 30 May 2012.
Shri Kshethra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRDP) in Karnataka is a prime example of the vital role a well-run microfinance organisation can play in meeting the poor’s energy needs. The NGO provides affordable loans to families in the area, helping them buy renewable energy systems that improve their quality of life.
Key to the success of this highly replicable programme, which has so far provided nearly 20,000 energy loans, are well-run self-help groups that help people make informed choices on what energy products they buy.
Founder Director of Ashden Sarah Butler-Sloss said: “Ensuring the poor have access to finance for sustainable energy technology will be a key factor in achieving the UN’s goal of ensuring universal access to modern energy services by 2030. SKDRDP is a perfect example of how a well-run microfinance organisation, which encourages people to take responsibility for their finances, can play a major role towards achieving this aim.”
The Ashden Awards were founded in 2001 to encourage the greater use of local sustainable energy to address climate change and alleviate poverty. Since then award winners have improved the lives of 33 million people worldwide, saving over 4 million tonnes of CO2 every year.
Some 1.4 billion people around the world lack access to modern energy, while 3 billion rely on ‘traditional biomass’ and coal as their main fuel sources.
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