NGO Christian Aid has partnered with solar lighting company d.light and three local organizations to distribute solar lanterns to rural households. The project will begin in Jharkhand, and expand to Orissa and Chhattisgarh over the next year. The partners seek to build a network of rural micro entrepreneurs who will distribute the lanterns.

Christian Aid, in collaboration with an international company, has launched a project to light up rural households using solar lanterns.

The micro finance project will start from Jharkhand, where it will reach 4,400 households and then move on to Orissa and Chhattisgarh within a year.

These three states have the worst rural electrification track record in the country.

The states have sizeable number of dalit and tribal communities.

It is for the first time Christian Aid has promoted solar lanterns. It is working with solar lighting specialist d.light and three local partner organizations.

“Solar lighting is often the first step in developing a more comprehensive decentralized renewable energy approach,” said Richard Ewbank, who coordinates the Climate Change Program at Christian Aid.

He said that solar lighting can not only meet domestic energy needs but also support small-scale enterprises.

Christian Aid has provided funding for the first 2,500 lanterns and will work with its Indian partners to identify young people to become ‘rural entrepreneurs’ to manage the distribution and finance alongside a network of women’s self-help groups.

Christian Aid is the official relief and development agency of 40 British and Irish Protestant Churches and works to support sustainable development, alleviate poverty, support civil society and provide disaster relief in South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.