Exciting plans as ProtoVillage prepares to scale promising solutions
ProtoVillage was founded in 2014 on 12.5 acres of barren land in Anantapur, the second driest district in India. It aspires to be the prototype of a resilient rural community, where people live in harmony with nature and blend native knowledge with contemporary technology for a sustainable way of life.
BW LPG’s relationship with ProtoVillage began in mid-2021, when countries struggled to managed the spread and impact of Covid-19 on communities. BW LPG provided the support needed for ProtoVillage to accelerate plans that aim to alleviate vulnerabilities in the healthcare and livelihood systems in rural India. As the shock of Covid-19 settled, ProtoVillage had taken stock of its progress, and into our third year of partnership, we look forward to an exciting stage of scaling up impact to surrounding communities.
Year One – Telemedicine and Entrepreneurship
To address the challenge of access to quality and affordable healthcare, ProtoVillage established a healthcare centre and mobile clinic to serve over 50 neighbouring villages in the district. An existing building within ProtoVillage was converted to serve as a healthcare and telemedicine center. It is equipped with a tech station to handle patient and patient-care data, and has facilities for doctors to treat patients.
A trained nurse travels around in the mobile clinic to care for villagers with mild, general ailments. Youths have been trained in naturopathy practices, and a medicinal herb garden has been planted with focus on minimal water use, easily accessible plants with maximum yield, and sustainable maintenance requirements.
A 4,000 sq. ft training facility infrastructure was also built to serve as a hub to run enterprises in Nutritious Food, Personal Care and Home Care categories, and ProtoVillage provides the R&D, training, quality assurance and marketing services for shared businesses.
Year Two – Farms, Water and Electricity
In our second year of collaboration, the focus was on exploring more sustainable forms of irrigation for a model farm, and securing a stable and sustainable source of water and electricity to support the increasing scale and level of activity at ProtoVillage.
ProtoVillage and its surrounding communities continue to face drought risks and water supply challenges. After a drought with a prolonged dry spell, many bore wells (deep wells tapping on aquifers) dried up, impacting food security and the general resilience of villages. ProtoVillage worked on developing a food security system that has lower water needs, and where water supplies for irrigation are not dependant on bore wells. The system designed includes building a huge pond that can hold approximately three million litres of rainwater and take advantage of the natural undulations of the land. This water will be sufficient for the farming needs of the village, until the next monsoon season replishes water levels in the pond. With a stable water supply, ProtoVillage also developed a farming model with a weekly harvest schedule – this in turn provides higher incomes for farmers and a steady supply of healthy food crops for the community.
ProtoVillage has also designed a water purification system to ensure that water is safe for drinking. After a few months of design and testing, they have developed a filtration system that can filter approximately 2,000 litres of water per day. The system will solve a local challenge of having a water supply that can be contaminated with excessive dissolved solids, with levels of fluoride and pH above or below an acceptable and portable range.
With growing enterprise and activities at ProtoVillage, there was an increased need for electricity. ProtoVillage enhanced its off-grid energy production, storage and distribution systems by adding an additional set of solar panels and a new higher-capacity inverter and controllers. It also set up measures to ensure minimal leakages of electricity from the grid.
Year Three – Scaling Up Impact
Into our third year of support for ProtoVillage, the team has exciting plans afoot. In 2023 the team will focus on leveraging all that has been done, to realise the impact from the groundwork laid and transforming lives of individuals and communities with healthcare, dignity of work, and a way of life that is in harmony with nature.
The team intends to scale up infrastructure at ProtoVillage with a community kitchen, dormitory to accommodate visiting participants and volunteers, as well as expand its training centre. There will also be multiple initiatives to equip approximately 50 master trainers with practical skills such as weaving, digital marketing and production of daily necessities, all of whom will then train over 9000 woman in rural woman entrepreneurship training centre across the region.
Dedicated to a vision of rural resilience
At BW LPG, we aspire towards a Better World. There are many ways to realize our aspiration. One way we can do so, is to support community development. At ProtoVillage, the efforts of ProtoVillage have the potential to transform not just individual lives but entire communities. BW LPG stands with ProtoVillage as they take steps towards more resilient rural communities in India.
Topics: human capital development, gender equality, women empowerment, emissions reduction, carbon reduction, diversity and inclusion, community involvement, community contribution, local interactions, CSR, Sustainability, environmental protection, technology