Karnataka microfinance provider wins green energy Gold Award
30 May 2012 � London � A microfinance organisation in Karnataka that's helping the poor plan their energy needs has won a coveted Ashden Gold Award. The Shri Kshethra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRDP) was awarded the overall Ashden Gold Award of £40,000 in prize money at a prestigious ceremony in London this evening, after joining other Ashden Award winners at a meeting with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales at Clarence House.
Said Dr. Manjunath of SKDRDP: "For SKDRDP, receiving an Ashden Gold Award is a great step in recognising that poor people need financial services to acquire sustainable energy assets. For too long, microcredit only meant improving livelihoods. This award will redefine the scope of microcredit!!"
The Ashden judges said: "SKDRDP is fantastic example of how ethically managed microfinance can deliver sustainable energy to the poor, demonstrating that providing consumer loans for energy makes sound social, environmental and economic sense. We were bowled over by the scale SKDRDP has achieved so far, along with the responsibility it takes for lending to the poor, nurturing users to take out effective loans. SKDRDP has huge potential to expand its work even further, and to inspire many others to follow its lead."
The Award was presented by Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, Director General of UNIDO and Chair of UN-Energy, who in his keynote speech urged governments around the world to increase their support for clean energy pioneers like SKDRDP and others.
Said Dr. Yumkella: "The decisions that will be taken at Rio will carry consequences for generations to come. Governments around the world must act urgently to agree the right policies and investment incentives that nurture these and other sustainable energy champions, before it's too late."
SKDRDP provides affordable loans to families in the area, helping them buy renewable energy systems that improve their quality of life. Key to the success of this highly replicable programme, which has so far provided nearly 20,000 energy loans, are well-run self-help groups that help people make informed choices on what energy products they buy.