NESFAS, partnering with Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE), recently provided solar electrification to two villages – Mynriah (in Mawkynrew block) and Nongpriang (Shella Bholaganj block), while also providing solar-powered equipment and lighting facilities for the Public Health Centres at Swer (Laitkroh block) and Laitryngew (Shella Bholaganj block).
The solar electrification initiative was implemented under the Climate Resilient Village Program funded by TATA Communication’s corporate social responsibility arm.
The project seeks to provide clean energy access through solar power and clean cookstoves to help improve the living standards of the rural populace living in the remote frontiers of North East India in states such as Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.
Through this provision of solar energy access to rural communities, the programme aims to implement energy solutions in a sustainable, scalable and environmentally beneficial manner that would lead to the community’s overall development while simultaneously empowering the local village population.
Located on steep foothills with more than 5,000 to 10,000 steps needed to reach the villages, the people of Nongpriang village had lived without any electrification since it was disconnected in 2018 while the community members of Mynriah had lived without electricity all their lives.
When the project was implemented in their villages, the community members also took an active part in the work – they carried the heavy solar equipment and materials from the roadside to their villages with smiles on their faces and a spring in their steps.
Local engineers from the rural communities of Garo Hills and Khasi Hills completed all of the solar electrification work in no time. Under the project, 76 households in Nongpriang received electrification in their homes for the first time since 2018 and 23 households in Mynriah.
“I thank NESFAS for paving the way and for always doing its great work for the community. As a headman representing the community, I feel we are really blessed and for all those years we have been living in darkness. I would extend my gratitude to NESFAS and team for always looking up to us and our needs.” shared an elated Liwell Mynsong, headman of Mynriah upon receiving electricity for the first time.
Fredy Suting, school teacher, Nongpriang, could not contain his joy at the sight of electricity reaching the village again, “I feel grateful for the coming of solar energy because we have lived without electricity since 2018. It’s been hugely beneficial for my people as a whole.”
On top of the electrification of houses, as many as 15 street lights were installed in Nongpriang while another 4 were also installed at Mynriah. Elsewhere, PHCs at Swer and Laitryngew were also electrified. Each PHC was provided with a vaccine carrier, lab refrigerator, radiant heat baby warmer, fetal doppler, and other solar-powered equipment.
Sumit Dhiman, operations manager at Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE), stated that GHE and NESFAS are working for the upgradation of PHCs with solar energy along with other initiatives such as electrification of villages and implementation of cookstoves projects in different regions of Meghalaya. Speaking of the electrification of houses at Nongpriang, he expressed his relief in being able to provide solar energy to the people of the village and revelled in the experience he had during the project implementation.
“We (GHE) are very happy with the people’s gesture in the village and the NESFAS team as well,” he added.
Rikynti Sohkhlet, a community member of Nongpriang joyfully expressed, “I thank NESFAS, GHE and TATA Communications for bringing solar energy to our community. Once again, we now have electricity and are not living in the dark. As a whole community, we are grateful for the renewable energy security.”