Initiated by the NGO Friendship under the leadership of Runa Khan, a prominent figure in Bangladesh and a long-time partner of the ENGIE Foundation, the project involves installing solar panels (known as solar home systems) in poor villages along the Brahmaputra River.
The aim is to provide enough electricity to power a few bulbs, a phone charger, a fan or a refrigerator. The energy generated is reliable and sustainable and replaces kerosene lamps at a cost that families can afford.
The project has been rolled out in three phases:
- Phase 1: Choosing the solar panel solution
- Phase 2: Installing 500 off-grid microgrids benefiting 2,500 families
- Phase 3 (ongoing): Distributing 2,000 additional panels and training 2,500 beneficiaries to maintain the panels.
Many beneficial effects have already been observed in the villages, particularly in terms of education. The arrival of electricity (allowing children to work in the evenings) has seen a marked improvement in school results, particularly at secondary level. On the strength of these positive results, the Bangladeshi government has agreed to provide additional funding for the programme.
Role of the ENGIE Foundation
The ENGIE Foundation’s role is twofold:
- Providing financial support from 2010 to 2018 (2015-2018 agreement in progress)
- Providing logistical and technological support to select and install the panels and train local people.