It has been a month since we returned from India, and we remain hard at work on the Hariyali project. The situation on the ground in Ahmedabad remains dynamic, and through bi-weekly conversations with our project sponsor, Anurag Bhatnagar via Skype, we have been able to remain informed regarding recent developments and continue to adjust our work accordingly. A quick recap of our three projects is as follows:
The Hariyali Team in India has made much headway toward settling on scalable IT systems to support the gathering of information with an eye toward the future long term growth of the project. The systems have been chosen in a manner that is cost effective, yet takes advantage of partners with significant experience in gathering data from “the last mile,” where connectivity can be an issue. We will continue to review the integration of these systems to ensure all support is required is addressed in the final process flow. Our focus now is on delivering training material that can convey the importance of carrying out prescribed processes correctly in order to maximize benefit to the system as a whole, while using an appropriate cultural medium for optimal effect. Also, we will be developing a custom inventory management tool that takes into account the unique aspects of the supply chain in order to help instruct product flow while keeping system costs down.
Evaluating social impact has quickly become an important measure on many company’s business scorecards. While it is important to measure social impact, it is extremely difficult to capture the impact that a specific project has on a person’s life. In order to provide a tool to help SEWA measure the social impact of the Hariyali project, we are researching quite a few projects and companies who have implemented a similar social measurement process. We are reviewing Mfiflex.com, SocialMicroFinance.com and ProgressOutof Poverty.org for ideas on how to set up the questionnaire and what types of questions to ask. We have also been introduced to a contact here in Seattle that is working on a similar project in Uganda. We hope to pick their brain on how they plan to measure the social impacts of their project. In the end, we will create a questionnaire for SEWA to use as a data gathering tool to collect information from the SEWA members on how the solar lantern and cookstoves are improving their day-to-day lives.
Carbon prices remain depressed, and the outlook for this portion of the project is anything but certain. While the Durban Climate Summit established general criteria for the continuation of UN backed efforts to reduce global carbon emissions, many details remain unclear. This uncertainty, combined with depressed European demand for carbon credits related to ongoing fiscal and economic issues have caused CER prices to remain depressed (see chart). Nonetheless we continue to research and follow market trends in order to come to a conclusion regarding what strategies may be employed to maximize returns for program participants. Anurag has indicated that he remains in negotiations with product manufacturers and carbon trading firms, and the outcomes of these negotiations could help us refine our models further. Stay tuned!