Dharmasthala NGO bags Green Oscar
The Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRDP) has been conferred the prestigious 2012 Ashden Gold Award, for its contribution to the field of micro-finance and promotion of sustainable energy.
Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and Chair of UN Energy, Dr Kandeh Yumkella, presented the international award to the president of SKDRDP, Dr D Veerendra Heggade and SKDRDP Executive Director L H Manjunath, at a ceremony in the presence of the Foundation patron, The Prince of Wales. The ceremony took place at The Royal Geographical Society in London on Wednesday night. The award, popularly known as the Green Oscars for its recognition of renewable projects and projects intended to help the poor, comes with a cash prize of £40,000.
According to a press release, SKDRDP was selected for the green energy award because of the impressive role it had played in boosting microfinance organisations intended to meet the energy needs of the poor.
“SKDRDP is a 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,” the judges said. In his keynote address, Dr Yumkella urged governments across the world to extend their support for clean energy pioneers. “The Ashden 2012 winners are exposing the myth that poor countries cannot stimulate growth without degrading the environment.
They are demonstrating that sustainable energy stimulates green growth and new jobs, lifts people out of poverty, improves health and opens up new educational opportunities,” he said.
The SKDRDP has been providing loans at affordable interest rates to the poor in order to help them to buy renewable energy systems to improve the quality of life in villages.
Since its inception 29 years ago, the organization has provided 20,000 energy loans and promotes development through a network of 169,000 self-help-groups which now includes 1.8 million families, about 20 per cent of rural households in Karnataka A total of five organisations were honoured with the prize this year - out of 250 applicants from around the world. SKDRDP was only one to win the prestigious Gold award.
Ashden award was instituted by the London-based Ashden Foundation in 2001 to encourage greater use of local sustainable energy in order to address climate change and alleviate poverty. So far 140 organisations from the UK and developing countries have been honored.