Magsaysay Awardees Hande, Mishra collaborate to electrify rural India

Two Indians, Harish Hande and Nileema Mishra, both 2011 Ramon Magsaysay awardees, are connecting their respective solutions to bring affordable solar energy to rural villages in India.

“Today at least 1.6 billion people lack access to reliable energy services. But to reach them in a sustainable manner, diverse delivery models have to be developed, as there is not going to be a one-size-fits-all solution,” said Hande in an article for The Climate Group.

This year, Hande’s SELCO India and Mishra’s Bhagini Nivedita Gramin Vigyan Niketan (BNGVN), as well as the Small-Scale Sustainable Infrastructure Development Fund (S3IDF) are partnering to provide solar home-lighting systems in 700 households. 

They will bring their transformative solutions for sustainable energy to some of rural India’s off-the-electricity-grid villages under The Climate Group’s Bijli-Clean Energy Program. The program aims to bring marginalized communities onto the energy access map and to create a program that is environmentally and financially sustainable.

SELCO India’s partnership with S3IDF and BNGVN “will establish a long-term revolving fund that creates a channel of end user financing, to help establish an entire ecosystem of technology and financial support to the rural customer which can be highly replicable,” according to a write-up in It will provide decentralized clean energy in Maharashtra, India’s Nandurbar district, in whose outskirts households typically use kerosene lanterns to light their homes because they are not connected to the national electric grid. These inefficient kerosene lamps are environmentally hazardous and expensive, and they can pose significant health issues to the rural villagers.

Both Mishra and Hande became recipients of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for their work of empowering people from rural areas. Mishra’s BNGVN enabled villagers with the capacity to provide means to livelihood and have a self-sustaining ecosystem, while Hande’s SELCO India enhanced the quality of life of underserved households and livelihoods through affordable, sustainable energy solutions.

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