Kalyan Paul is enabling rural mountain communities to adopt appropriate technology to not only improve the quality of their lives but also impact long term ecological restoration.
Through Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation (PHGDF), Kalyan researches and builds the capacities of local communities to bring in appropriate technologies in their everyday lives. These includes infiltration wells, drinking water systems and biogas plants. To support the maintenance of these appropriate technologies, PHGDF trains local unemployed youth to become “Barefoot Engineers”. Capacity building efforts have also been extended to Self Help Groups (SHG) leading to the organization of a producers company. This company is managed by 1200 farm women who have significantly increased livelihood opportunities for women in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. This company is growing and producing a revenue of 160 lakhs per year to 500 lakhs.
PHGDF also supports local communities to build models and solutions to sustain the idea locally. To overcome financial constraints, Kalyan has been encouraging communities to build local capital through small savings like the SHG’s monthly savings. Over the last couple of years, SHGs have put together a revolving fund of 50 lakhs which has been key in bringing forth sustainable development at the grassroots. He has also developed an innovative cost-sharing mechanism for financing the appropriate technology for individual households where costs are shared between the adopting families, PHGDF and the local government. Kalyan along with the one of the village panchayats designed the village development committees’ Gram Kosh to attract matching grants from other organisations.
Seeing the success and value of appropriate technologies, local communities and Governments of Himanchal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are adopting and facilitating adoptions of these technologies respectively. For, example, the Government of Uttarakhand is scaling the community-managed infiltration wells used for drinking systems across several river basins in the Central Himalaya. As part of this scaling exercise, barefoot engineers have been mobilised to provide over 2 million litres of safe drinking water daily to 600 communities spread across Uttarakhand. With the Government of Himachal Pradesh support 3,000 homes have adopted biogas technology as a clean renewable energy for cooking. Springs and other degraded common resources of villages have been rejuvenated. PHGDF’s work has spread to over 100 villages in the form of 220 drinking water systems, 1700 toilets, 200 rainwater harvesting structures and 300 biogas units. The organisation has reached more than 800 villages in 60 blocks spread over 10 districts in Uttarakhand and 2 districts in Himachal Pradesh.
Over the next 3 years, Kalyan plans on setting up a partnership between the Indian Himalayan States and Countries, replicating the model from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This will focus on ecological security and scale up livelihoods and renewable energy sector initiatives.
Note: This was updated in December, 2013. Read on for the ELECTION profile