Pollinate Group is training local women in the slums of India to sell and distribute household products such as solar lighting, water filters and cooking appliances. By doing this, Pollinate Group is killing two birds with one stone: more people are gaining access to clean energy and more permanent jobs are being created for empowered women.
Pollinate Group’s products are sold by “Pollinators” – semi-skilled or unskilled workers who not only sell, but also provide training on use and offer repair services.
Many of these women come from the slums themselves and have no education. They are initially recruited as sales agents and intensively coached and trained. They are then employed as “Pollinators”.
Clean energy for all
Pollinate Energy is unique in reaching a difficult target group: the very poorest inhabitants of Indian slums. Although India is rapidly gaining access to electricity, this does not reach the residents of slums as these are built illegally.
Many slum dwellers still use charcoal and paraffin for cooking and lighting, which is both unhealthy and unsafe. What’s more, these energy sources are often relatively expensive. Clean water is also unavailable in the vast majority of slums.
From customer to entrepreneur
Lahksmi is one of the “Pollinators”. In 2013, she came into contact with Pollinate Group as a customer. Together with her four children, she was surviving without basic needs and doing all she could to keep her children in school.
Lakshmi was one of Pollinate Group’s first customers. She bought a solar light, a product she had never heard of before. She was able to afford it thanks to one of Pollinate Group’s payment plans. Now she saves €65 every year compared to spending money on paraffin.
In 2018, Lakshmi decided to join Pollinate Group as a sales agent, to sell products that improve quality of life. She is becoming a leader in her community and a role model for other women and girls.
Support from DOEN
In 2019, Pollinate Group received a project subsidy from DOEN and in 2020 a contribution from the Support Facility in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, with DOEN’s support, Pollinate Group was able to attract more than 250 women entrepreneurs who sold more than 11,600 clean energy products. And that was despite the lockdowns and measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.