Clean Energy

SSP promotes a unique approach to meet the energy needs of the underserved communities through “Sakhis” or women transformed into clean energy entrepreneurs at the village level.

SSP’s clean energy program:

  • Generate awareness and deliver energy needs of rural homes by offering pollution‐free, affordable and efficient cooking and lighting solutions at the doorstep by the Sakhis.
  • Offers livelihood opportunities to potential rural women through formalized entrepreneurship trainings. This leads to the economic well‐being of the women and their families.
  • SSP aims to train and equip women in rural communities to be employed in, or initiate clean energy businesses.
  • Fosters community development through awareness on renewable energy and access to clean energy products that suit local contexts. These products range from advanced cook stoves, bio pellets, biogas plants, solar lanterns, home lighting system and solar water heaters.
  • Ecosystem building with access to finance, partnership with technology developers and market creation for long term sustainability of the clean energy enterprises launched by the Sakhis. Sakhis are equipped to work within communities to market and distribute clean energy products on behalf of these partner corporations. Women and the corporations involved, as well as SSP share the commissions on the products sold.
Product partnerships include:
Company Product being marketed
FirstEnergy Cook stoves
Eureka Forbes (Aquaguard) Water treatment plants
Godrej Chotukool
LSS Solar Solar water heaters
D- Light Solar lanterns
Kirloskar Biogas plants
Capacity Building Program
  • SSP provides customized Entrepreneurship Development programs at village level to train women as (‘Sakhis’) or last-mile distributors of clean energy products. (These trainings offer participants a basic understanding of clean energy products, communication and marketing strategies, market spotting, customer segmentation, clean energy sales, inventory management and basic business planning.) Sakhis manage sales and distribution of clean energy products and services through village level retail outlets.
  • Sakhis with demonstrated caliber as successful entrepreneurs are elevated as Super Sakhis who function at block/ cluster levels and manage a group of 10 to 15 Sakhis. Super Sakhis work as wholesale distributors of clean energy products and are trained specifically for higher level business strategizing and execution.
  • Rural youth are trained as clean energy technicians through SSP’s training arm SSEN. The training modules are spread across three months, and teach young men and women to service and repair clean energy products, and impart technical knowledge on wiring and assembling of electrical appliances. Trained clean energy youth technicians are also offered industry jobs, or inducted to Sakhi networks.
Business Handholding support

Post training, SSP continues to provide Sakhis or clean energy entrepreneurs with branding, marketing support and establishes linkages with micro finance institutions for further assistance.

Market creation

SSP also works alongside Sakhis in creating new markets for clean energy products. SSP organizes activities such as mass community campaigns and demonstrations at block-level, involving key stakeholders, opinion leaders such as Panchayat heads, and representatives from various institutions to generate clean energy awareness to tap the latent demand.

Ecosystem Building – Orchestrating distribution networks

SSP’s social enterprise SURE works with Sakhis on one hand, and vendors and technology providers of clean energy products on the other side. On behalf of Sakhis, SURE identifies, tests and conducts due-diligence on clean energy products as well as vendors that the Sakhis deal with.

In addition to the existing portfolio of clean energy products, SSP team explores, identifies and tests clean energy products that could potentially benefit the communities we serve.


With the support of USAID/India, over 1010 rural women entrepreneurs have launched clean energy enterprises reaching out to over 200,000 Households across eight districts in Maharashtra and Bihar as on 2016.


  • wPOWER – USAID/India
  • Miseror, Germany


  • Technology developers for distribution and marketing of clean and green solutions.
  • Building and executing customized awareness campaigns, product development and pilot programs to reach the rural markets.

    A report on the Program:
    wPOWER INDIA: From creating to scaling up clean energy market ecosystems in underserved regions through empowering grassroots women entrepreneurs as climate change leaders

    Swayam Shikshan Prayog Spotlight by wPOWER Hub:

    Partner Spotlight: Swayam Shikshan Prayog

SSP is declared as winner of Equator Prize 2017 by UNDP

Swayam Shikshan Prayog is one of the 15 winners of Equator Prize 2017 by UNDP. SSP has been selected from 806 nominations from 120 countries for its women led climate resilient agro-ecological farming model and entrepreneurship and has empowered more than 72,000 women in the Marathwada region of India.

Kamal Kumbhar from SSP has received the 2017 Woman Exemplar Award of CII Foundation in the Micro enterprise category from the Honorable President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee. A proud moment for all of us !!!


After receiving the Woman Exemplar Award, Kamal said to Ms. Prema Gopalan, Executive Director, SSP “I have never felt so happy in my life, and I’m proud that women like me are now recognized by CII and the President of our country. When asked about her message, poor women need to stop being afraid, and start two or three businesses at a time, so if one fails, they have at one business to support their families.”

“Kamal is one our grassroots women leader who is a mentor to many thousands of women. I have known her since 15 years, when she entered the bangle business, and soon shared her market connections with over hundred new women, helping them to earn incomes. She next approached the Electricity Board, to get the bill collection contract for many women. After that she grew her network to women in unconventional sector – as solar energy entrepreneurs with an ambition of creating solar communities and tackling environment”, Prema Gopalan.

Kamal Kumbhar is a serial entrepreneur and leader of the grassroots women’s network of Swayam Shikshan Prayog from Hinglajwadi, Osmanabad, Maharashtra.

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SSP honored over 150 grassroots women leaders on International Women’s Day and the week as part of our 1000 women strong gatherings!

SSP honored over 150 grassroots women leaders for their outstanding community initiatives on 8th March 2017 Women‘s Day and the week as part of our 1000 women strong gatherings ! Click here to read the news on these Sakhi Melavas

Momentum for Change: Women for Results, Showcase Event, 16 Nov 2016

Ms Prema Gopalan, Executive Director of SSP along with Prof. Vinod Chandra Menon received the UNFCCC’s Momentum for Change Award 2016 for “Creating a network of Rural Community Leaders Combating Climate Change”. The award was presented by Ms. Teresa Ribera Rodriguez, Chair of the Momentum for Change Advisory Panel in the presence of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon at the Momentum for Change: Women for Results, Showcase Event at the UN Climate Change Conference 2016 held at COP22, Marrakech, Morocco on November 16, 2016.

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SSP was awarded the 2016 UNFCCC Momentum for Change Climate Change Award for “Creating a network of Rural Community Leaders Combating Climate Change” at the Showcase Event at UN Climate Change Conference held at COP22, Marrakech, Morocco on November 16, 2016. SSP is one of the 13 winners of the Award and the only Indian entity being addressed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

SSP was awarded the coveted Rashtriya Swayam Siddh Samman based on our significant contributions to the development sector at the Award ceremony held on Jan 14, 2016 in Delhi.