Naukasili is a small hamlet of 30 households in Kampamaligaon Gram Panchayat in Rayagada district of Odisha. The hamlet is located on a hill and is about 1.6 kilometers from the district headquarters. All the 151 villagers of the hamlet which include 65 men, 52 women and 34 children belong to tribal community and their economic condition is very poor and agriculture is their main source of livelihood.
As far as, public services are concerned, the hamlet is highly deprived. The hamlet does not have any proper connecting road and electricity connection is for namesake only. Whenever there is rain or any calamity like cyclone, it remains disconnected for days together. In this situation, risk of bites by snakes and scorpions and attack by wild animals becomes high; and in the absence of any medical facility nearby, risk becomes even higher. Safety of women during dark hours was also at risk as alcohol addiction in the village was high. Theft was also not uncommon. So, when problems being faced by the people were discussed with them for the preparation of Village Development Plan, absence of street light was shared as one of the biggest problems.
The Community Organizer, in this situation, suggested installation of solar street light as it was not dependent on electricity supply of the government. They simultaneously told the villagers about importance of renewable energy sources like sunlight instead of traditional sources which are dependent on fossil fuels. However, she told that the community involvement in the process of its installation and management was necessary. The Village Development Committee, whose development has been facilitated by Prayatn team under the Holistic Rural
Development Programme, passed a resolution committing all the required support for the process. The location for installation of the solar street light was selected immediately and as soon as the equipment was procured, the villagers extended their full support in the installation process.
As soon as the solar light illuminated the village, the scene of the village during evening hours changed dramatically, diminishing the fear of darkness. Risk of bites by snakes, scorpions, etc. and attack by wild animals as mentioned above reduced; and children were able to play as well as study under the street light. On the other hand, community members, including SHG members, could gather together for their meeting after coming back from work and finishing off their domestic chores. The light changed everyone’s life.