On Nov. 5, QNET announced it had launched a brand-new initiative to improve the living conditions of remote tribal communities in the state of Meghalaya. As one of Asia’s leading direct sales companies, QNET said it would accomplish this through a partnership between its social impact arm, the RYTHM Foundation, and Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE). The RYTHM Foundation — which stands for Raise Yourself To Help Mankind — is working with GHE on the “Empowering North-East India” project, which will bring solar energy to impoverished regions while upgrading the healthcare infrastructure.
The goal of the project is to provide electricity to 470 villagers. They will also bring solar power to the area’s primary healthcare center, which treats over 23,000 of the region’s residents. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this an urgent priority since the facility is essential in treating patients and delivering vaccines. Access to solar power is also expected to help the healthcare center and the entire community by reducing infant mortality and decreasing deaths due to lack of access to life-saving equipment.
How does the ‘Empowering North-East India’ project work?
The project aims to create a community-owned model that the tribal communities can eventually run independently. GHE-trained engineers will install the grid and offer maintenance support. However, the goal is to train villagers and equip them with the necessary skills and tools to handle essential solar grid maintenance and future troubleshooting.
As part of the project, engineers will install a simple solar micro-grid in each home. Every house also gets a solar panel with a battery pack wired to LED lights, low energy consumption motor fans, and mobile charging facilities. “There is no grid line. Each home produces and consumes its energy,” explains Jaideep Bansal, the chief operating officer of the Global Himalayan Expedition. “The future of electricity is becoming grid-independent so that household access to power is not susceptible to hurricanes, rainfall, or any other weather-related incidents.”
The project stipulates that every household will need to open a community bank account and make a minimum monthly contribution, which will cover any maintenance or troubleshooting of the grid expenses. Also, that villagers will establish a Village Electricity Management Committee to oversee the funds.
QNET strives to light up lives around the globe
This is the second time that QNET’s RYTHM Foundation has partnered with GHE. They have worked together to successfully bring solar energy to the village of Rongdo in Ladakh, a remote Himalayan region, and provided digital education access to schools in Skagyam and Sato villages.
“At QNET, we live by the core philosophy of RYTHM,” says Malou Caluza, CEO of QNET. “In its simplest form, RYTHM is about empowering people so that they not only strive to become their best self but also make a difference in their communities. QNET’s CSR arm, RYTHM Foundation, strives to fund and support projects with a long-term, transformational impact in underserved communities. Through the ‘Empowering North-East India’ project, we hope to drive change in the remote villages of Meghalaya by empowering them with access to electricity which has a direct impact on education, health, comfort, productivity, and more, leading to improved living standards.”
To date, GHE has helped more than 150 villages in five regions across India gain access to solar energy, which has positively impacted over 100,000 lives. And QNET has given back to communities worldwide through RYTHM Foundation, which serves as the social impact initiative of QNET’s parent company, the QI Group.
“I think it’s great to have partners like RYTHM, who recognize the need to serve the most underprivileged areas,” Bansal added. “Many other partners want to support projects only in well-known or more accessible locations, but in our experience with RYTHM, it’s really about reaching out to those who’ve been forgotten, places where nobody else goes. I think this speaks volumes about the kind of commitment RYTHM has towards bringing holistic, sustainable development to underserved communities.”