Case Study- Suryodaya campaign by Dharma Life


Apsar, runs a small retail shop at his village in Faizabad district. Initially, he used to buy kerosene oil in from the grey market to meet the lighting needs in the evening hours to run his shop and tend to the customers. By way of ‘Suryodaya’ campaign, Apsar came to know about solar lighting solutions and now is a happy user of a solar Lantern. In his words, he is saving a lot of money since now he doesn’t need to buy kerosene oil form the grey market anymore. Moreover, Apsar is also now aware about the harmful effects of carbon emission and indoor air pollution caused by lighting up Kerosene lamps.

Traveling through the villages of U.P. and Bihar, one will come across many Apsar’s who will have similar stories to tell, which can all be attributed to the suryodaya campaign.

‘Suryodaya’ campaign is the brainchild of International Finance Corporation (IFC), an apex financial organization funding projects addressing development challenges across developing countries globally. Dharma Life, a social enterprise founded in 2009, is a partner to IFC for the campaign and is actively involved in helping IFC create awareness about alternative and clean sources of lighting in the rural areas.

The team has been aggressively promoting the adoption of cleaner source of energy such as portable solar solutions for many years now. These solutions have made a substantial impact in terms of economic well-being, improved health and cleaner environment. However, affordability, low penetration and awareness still remain as the major challenges hindering the adoption of clean energy solutions.

The task at hand was to create awareness around clean energy options in terms of availability, usage and affordability. The recorded insight was that in a large part of rural India all life comes to an end post the sunset leaving no room for any social or financial interaction.

The aim of the campaign was to herald a new sunrise in villages post the sunset using solar lights and hence the name of the campaign was rightly coined as “Suryodaya”.

A multi-level engagement platform was created with IFC to inform, engage and showcase the world of opportunities post sunset.The theme of the campaign highlighted the benefits of extended day light so that a person could spend more hours in his shop adding to his livelihood, a child could study well during the night hours, a housewife could cook easily during the evening hours and a person could also manage outdoor work during evening hours easily.

The theme was translated on ground via an audio video enabled van which communicated the benefits of quality solar lights and also displayed all the products along with live demo of the same. Schools and community gatherings were conducted to reach out to the children and women.

The village level entrepreneur (DLE) network was harnessed to convert the awareness and interest generated into post campaign sales. After sales service was offered to address any repair/maintenance concerns from the consumers.

The impact was impressive. 450 hub villages from two states (Uttar Pradesh & Bihar) were covered in two phases. 1,350 satellite villages were covered in this period, 90,000 plus individuals were contacted via van interventions and over 5,000children and women were reached through school and community gatherings. Moreover, substantial amount of carbon emissions were offset through the sales of solar lights during the campaign.

"The Suryodaya Campaign aims to demonstrate the value of high-quality modern lighting to consumers. It was launched in November 2014 and is expected to reach 8,000 villages by December 2015 and create demand for quality solar lighting products. This will accelerate access to better lighting for low-income households." says Anjali Garg, Program Manager Lighting Asia/India program, IFC.

“Behaviour change is a slow burn process and thus requires multi-level continuous intervention. We recruit people with basic education, don’t have a full-time job and then impart training to make them a Dharma Life Entrepreneur”, chime inGaurav Mehta and Abhishek Bhatia of Dharma Life.

About Dhrama Life-

Dharma Life was founded in 2009 by a group of graduates from the London Business School. They identified the need for alternative lighting solutions in rural India, and have set out to engage the local community to address this issue. Thus far, their distribution model has helped create sustainable livelihoods for more than 3,300 village level entrepreneurs and hasimpacted the lives of more than 90,000 families.

Twitter Handle- @Dharmalifeindia

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rural marketing solar lighting

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