Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha, Bangladesh, solar pv boats
Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha was founded in 1998 to help poor, marginalised communities living in the remote Chalanbeel region of Bangladesh to develop sustainable livelihoods. Shidhulai has achieved this by building up a fleet of flat-bottomed boats, all made with locally available materials, that make their way through the shallow rivers and canals of the Chalanbeel to bring a range of educational services and renewable energy supplies to water-side families. The boats use solar PV modules to generate all the electricity they need to provide daily classes in primary education for children, libraries, training in sustainable agriculture, health advice, mobile phone and internet access and battery-charging facilities. Shidhulai has also provided villagers with 13,500 solar-home-systems, 2,500 lanterns and 15,000 bicycle pumps that deliver between 60 and 100 litres of water per minute - enough to irrigate half a hectare of land during the dry season. By putting into practice the agricultural techniques they have learnt on the boats and using the renewable energy devices, farmers have been able to significantly increase their income and reduce the use of synthetic pesticides, with about one third of farmers eliminating their use altogether.