Power women with impact

News overview

Pollinate Group envisions a world where women are equipped to lead their communities out of poverty. They achieve this by empowering women in India and Nepal to distribute quality household products that improve health, save time and money. In this story, you’ll read more about this DOEN partner and the impact they make.

Discrimination against women

While both men and women suffer from poverty, gender discrimination means women have fewer resources to access. Women retain the full burden of household chores, spending hours every day preparing meals and using low-quality household solutions for things like lighting and cooking. Women are restricted from further education and cannot commit to employment due to discriminatory social norms in their communities.

Problems due to poverty

Families in poverty suffer from preventable health problems. Children are forced to leave school before finishing to assist at home or to support their families financially. Some children may never even get to start an education, as their families cannot afford it.

Role models that offer alternatives

Pollinate Group identifies, trains and develops local women entrepreneurs who work hard to reach families living on less than 1.60 EUR a day. Pollinate Group calls its women entrepreneurs “Suryamukhis”, which means sunflower in Hindi. Suryamukhis earn respect and a meaningful income. They also act as role models who raise awareness about better product alternatives, such as solar lights, cooking appliances, water filters and many other life-improving products.

Focus on the community

Pollinate Group provides business skills and products, but they also support community activities to position women as leaders and work with each woman’s family to bring them along on this journey. Through their work, women establish trusting, long-term service relationships with their communities. Their customer service focus, including after sales support, is also a key differentiator from other organisations, and a key tool to help families break the cycle of poverty.

A new generation of leaders

In addition to enabling access to life-improving products, and increasing women entrepreneurs' skills, confidence and income, they deliver immersive programs for students, professionals and leaders seeking to have an immediate impact and learn about opportunities from different communities. Through these programs, the participants are equipped with practical experience to become the next generation of social and environmental leaders.

The impact achieved by Pollinate Group (since 2012 to July 2020)

  • 668,403 people reached
  • 763 Suryamukhis empowered
  • 178,906 products sold
  • USD 23 M money saved
  • 90,662 TCO2E saved

Customer views

An Electric Fan Customer from Nepal:

“My quality of life has improved by 10 times what it used to be. Earlier it was so hot that it used to be difficult to even breathe. I have small grandchildren and now they sleep comfortably because of this fan.”

A Solar Lantern Customer from India:

“We used to use candles to light up the room when there was no electricity in the city. After buying the solar lamp, life improved because it gave good light despite there being no electricity in the area.”

Suryamukhis views

Astha from Nepal joined as a Suryamukhi in mid-2018. After problems in her marriage, she had no access to income or the resources she needed for herself and her two children. She was in a vulnerable position and needed support. Astha was referred to Pollinate Group by people in her community. Although Astha has at times struggled with the motivation to sell, Pollinate Group has patiently stood by her and encouraged her to continue with sales.

Astha: “If things go well in the future, I have a dream to open my own proper shop. I want to be financially strong and give my children a good life and education.”

Afsana from India joined as a Suryamukhi in 2019. She lives with her husband and three children. Afsana loves working in the community. She shares that she feels respected in the community for her work as a Suryamukhi.

Afsana: “Earlier, I didn't have much knowledge about business, but now I know how to run a business. I have business skills.”

DOEN supports Pollinate Group since 2019 through the Sustainable Energy program, because they provide more people with sustainable energy and at the same time create jobs for women.