2015 was a big year for the Solar Village Project. From officially becoming a tax exempt 501(c)(3) Non Profit, implementing the Kihare Solar Village Project in Bihar, India, and successfully raising the funds to expand our efforts into Senegal with the Cisse Masse Solar Village Project in February, we accomplished a lot this past year.
Beyond that, in 2015 SVP began to lay the foundations for long term success and organizational development. At the forefront of those plans we have identified three objectives that will have a major impact on our operations in India and Africa.
First, we need to officially register the SVP in India and Sengal as a non-profit organization. The benefits of doing so include tax exempt status and greater access to funding opportunities within both countries.
Another priority we identified is enrolling our local staff in India and Africa in a technical institute that focuses on solar hardware installation, troubleshooting and maintenance. This will allow our in-country staff to quickly address any issues the villagers may have with their equipment. Training will also enable our local staff to instruct individuals within the village in basic solar troubleshooting and maintenance. In addition to technical training, we also plan on enrolling our local staff in project management classes. Project management training will help them coordinate and control the complex and diverse activities that go into successful project implementation and maintenance.
Third, the SVP began the preliminary steps of setting up a “help ticket system” for the villagers. The ticket system will convert basic SMS text messages sent by individual households into a help ticket email that will be registered on a ticket- tracking system automatically sent to SVP staff. This will help ensure that technical issues with the solar home systems can be addressed quickly, minimizing the time individual households go without power.
In 2015 the SVP also had the good fortune of being selected by the Minga Foundation as one of their project partners for 2016. The Minga Foundation has been doing international development work for over a decade, and specializes in community- oriented projects as well as helping start-up NGOs like the SVP with their capacity-building efforts. With Minga’s help the SVP will initiate new strategies for success, such as community partnership agreements and post- implementation data collection in order to better evaluate the success of the projects..
The SVP has also been planning ways to expand our funding base for 2016 and beyond. This includes building a database of foundations and funding agencies that specifically finance solar electrification, and organizing a grant writing team with the goal of receiving at least two grants in 2016. Along with grant writing the SVP also plans on having two more fundraisers in 2016 in order to implement our third solar village project in India and our second in Senegal.
We are extremely excited about the progress we’ve made in 2015 and we are grateful to everyone who has helped make this progress possible. Everything the SVP has accomplished so far has been due to the help and support of our board members, volunteers and generous donors, and we are truly grateful. Because of the tremendous support we’ve received from so many people the future is even brighter.