Improving Life in Urban Communities
Improving Life in Urban Communities
CAMPAIGN: Corporate Social Responsibility
Louis Scipione, an environmental scientist based in AECOM’s Sydney, Australia, office, visited Hyderabad, India, with his colleagues Sean and Zara, to participate in Pollinate Energy’s Young Professional program. He talks about his experience and why it will stay with him and his team forever.
Pollinate Energy is a social business with a simple mission — to improve the lives of India’s urban communities by giving them access to affordable products such as solar lights, water filters and cook stoves. As Zara has said in a previous post, we are training micro-entrepreneurs (or “Pollinators”) who provide door-to-door services selling and maintaining life-changing products in urban communities. These products save families money, improve health and increase quality of life.
There are 65 million Indians living in urban communities, surviving on an average of $1.52 a day. They can’t afford to buy even the simplest technologies to improve their daily lives; and so, many live without electricity, clean water or sanitation. Interacting with those living in these communities has been both challenging and rewarding. In many cases, people’s faces light up when we demonstrate the solar lights and talk about the water filters. Pollinate gives the families access to these products by offering deferred-payment plans, as most would have difficulty saving enough money to buy the products outright.
Most of the communities are made up of people from rural areas who come to the city in search of work. In many cases, these communities have been established for more than 10 years and, in some cases, up to 30 years. Pollinate has mapped approximately 540 different communities around Hyderabad that range in size from two to three tents, to others comprising more than 200 tents. These communities usually consist of people who come from the same native village and work throughout the city as construction labourers, garbage collectors, handcraft makers or street stall workers. It is extremely difficult for families to make ends meet, and we have seen in communities that explaining what we are doing gives hope to these families and shows them that people care for them.
We feel extremely lucky to have the opportunity to take part in this journey with Pollinate Energy; so far, it’s been an experience that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. We still have a lot to learn and important work to contribute over the next week. Stay tuned to the AECOM Impact blog for more insights into life in India with Pollinate Energy!
AECOM is a premier, fully integrated professional and technical services firm positioned to design, build, finance and operate infrastructure assets around the world for public- and private-sector clients. With nearly 100,000 employees — including architects, engineers, designers, planners, scientists and management and construction services professionals — serving clients in over 150 countries around the world, AECOM is ranked as the #1 engineering design firm by revenue in Engineering News-Record magazine’s annual industry rankings, and has been recognized by Fortune magazine as a World’s Most Admired Company. The firm is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, oil and gas, water, high-rise buildings and government. AECOM provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering customized and creative solutions that meet the needs of clients’ projects. A Fortune 500 firm, AECOM companies, including URS Corporation and Hunt Construction Group, had revenue of approximately $19 billion during the 12 months ended March 31, 2015. More information on AECOM and its services can be found at www.aecom.com.
Vice President, Corporate Communications