In order to understand the context of the challenges the students were setting out to solve, members from our local partner SELCO Foundation presented their outstanding organization and clarified problem statements that the students would be working on.
Day 2: Explore
For over 20 years, SELCO has catalysed energy access as a platform for entrepreneurship, education and health.
Shripathi Hadigal, Program Manager for Global Replication, explained how they work holistically by operating at the intersection the social, technical, and financial spheres: they always seek to deeply understand social needs through field workers, they iteratively design and engineer solutions that provide greener and more profitable solutions, and assure inclusion by creating the right linkages with financial partners.
The first problem area, addressing integrated energy centres (IECs), was introduced by Keerthi C N, Program coordinator for Basic Energy Access. In a nutshell, IECs are solar energy systems that can be integrated into a range of physical structures (from a petti shop to a health clinic or a school) and provide different services depending on the area and addressed community (lighting, mobile phone charging, refrigeration, printing, and water filtration). The IECs are mainly run in three different models:
- An entrepreneur takes the risk and full benefit of the system.
- An operator pays back a center funded by another organisation.
- A community splits the cost and selects a member to run the system.
However, the challenge lies within the way to install the centres in a way that can be modular, in order to facilitate deployment and to provide the correct selection of services that match local needs.
The second challenge focuses on temporary shelters for migrants and short-term workers. Kaushik Suresh, Consultant for Skin and HUM, explained that there are:
- homogeneous communities, where the camp is shared by people from the same area and religion, and
- heterogeneous communities, composed by people from diverse regions, religions, and occupations.
In most camps, the current shelters have a myriad of problems, ranging from absence of airflow and natural lighting, to heat levels and problems with rodents and insects. In addition, these problems can be rooted in the type of land owner and/or the absence of trust between community members.