Fondazione L’Albero della Vita, supported by NextEnergy Foundation, initiated a project of installation of Solar Power Systems in the Sundarbans, intending to support children, women, and men farmers. This project is in a process of implementation in partnership with a local organization working in the Sundarbans named Andrewspalli Centre for Integrated Development (ACID). The objective of this initiative is to support children and their families to have uninterrupted education and safe drinking water, through sustainable and renewable energy. This is in line with FADV’s strategy on climate change and its Tree-Generation initiative implemented across all project locations, which focuses on creating a climate of change by engaging children. This project supported by NextEnergy Foundation proposes the installation of Solar Power Systems across the learning centres and the Farmer’s Resource Centre run by FADV in the Sundarbans.
Hingalganj Block in the Sundarbans, where this project is being implemented, remains mired in darkness during monsoons or when cyclones hit the delta marsh island territory every year, interrupting the education of children and creating a crisis in the availability of safe drinking water and other important activities affecting lives of women and men farmers. Sundarbans is a hotbed for climate change and is expected to have more such extreme weather events in the future. The frequent cyclones topple trees, and electric poles and destroy dozens of pipelines that supply water to the island surrounded by rivers fed with saline tidal water from the sea. Over just the past three years, the Sundarbans, which is home to close to five million people, have been battered by four tropical cyclones- Fani (May 2019), Bulbul (November 2019), Amphan (May 2020), and Yaas (May 2021). On each occasion, the region has suffered damage because of gale winds, breached embankments, toppled trees and electricity poles, and damaged drinking water pipelines. Schools remain underwater and are often destroyed by cyclones. People have to take refuge in the Cyclone centres.
Under this project, Solar power systems were installed 1 in the Farmers’ Information and Service Centre and 5 in FADV-supported learning centres, and 2 in Schools in Hingalganj Block in the Sundarbans supporting children and their parents, who are the local farmers. This Solar Power system has been supporting the children and their families in more ways than one:
- This has relieved the children during study hours at the center and school with an uninterrupted power supply, especially during the summer and rainy seasons.
- This will feed continuous power supply during the disaster and will help the families taking shelter at the Farmers’ Resource Centre
- This ensures a supply of safe drinking water throughout the year and will be helpful for the community especially during disasters in the affected villages in the area as the water pump will function when normal power cuts will continue for days in the area
- This has been helpful in imparting training to the women self-help group members and the farmers uninterruptedly during normal power cuts in the area.
Fondazione L’Albero della Vita has planned to install more Solar Power Systems in the learning centres and Government Schools across West Bengal and Assam.