SELCO Foundation introduced an innovative solution to the problem of unreliable power supply faced by students of Karnataka. The organization intervened to provide students with high quality study lamps that could be charged at a central charging station using solar energy in the school and enabled them to study at night in areas that had poor or unreliable electricity supply. Major activities undertaken were providing of “LED Study Lamp”, “Centralized Solar Charging Systems” and “Pocket Size Battery”.
Each student had been provided with a pocket size, lightweight battery and a LED study lamp. The lamp was placed at home where students study at night. The batteries were carried to school every day for charging through the Centralized Solar Charging System. This provided light at least 4 hours a day.
This provided safe, bright and sufficient light for students to study at night. The lamp does not emit harmful smoke or heat, like a kerosene lamp. It had been proved to be a Cost-effective due to a shared and centralized solar charging system. At the same time, drop-outs in schools had reduced as every day the students had been going to school for charging the batteries. Technically the performance of the central system was much better than individual solar panels in portable lantern models especially during rainy weather.
The students were charged a minimal amount as an initial deposit so that in future replacements of lights would be taken care of and they could own the system in a long run. In association with the Parents Teachers Association and School Development Committee a particular amount in the budget for such innovative practices could be earmarked that had a positive impact on learning outcomes and improving attendance of students.
Strong support from the school authorities, parents and local community organizations could be the major success factors for the initiation and sustainability of the project. Government agencies could also play an active role in mobilizing the communities with the help of Gram Panchayat and local community based organizations by creating demonstrations and awareness programmes.