Creating 200 ”Clean & Connected Homes” in Uttar Pradesh
A “Clean and Connected Home” (CCH) is a household that is aware of good health, hygiene and sanitation habits, has access to clean energy and cooking, and is digitally literate. The CCH programme was implemented in Uttar Pradesh creating 200 clean and connected homes, reaching more than 40,000 beneficiaries and selling more than 5200 social impact products and services across six core components: digital literacy, clean energy and cooking, water, sanitation, and handwash.
The following questions guided the research and activity that constituted the project:
1. Can we design a more holistic approach to achieve health impact at the household level by integrating the interventions around various causes and initiatives?
2. Can we make the “clean and connected home” a model home and an aspiration for the communities we target?
3. Are there any synergies and cost efficiencies which can be achieved through this integrated approach?
4. How do we scale this approach across our larger network?
From these questions evolved the Clean & Connected Homes projects, which was designed as an integrated approach to delivering a home that digitally connected and which run on clean energy and clean water. This stage aimed to test the approach within a sample set of 200 Dharma Life Entrepreneurs (DLEs) and 600 villages by:
• Converting the DLE homes into model “clean and connected homes”
• Getting the DLEs to create “clean and connected homes”, achieving awareness on all and action on at least 2 of the core components
• Develop a scale-up strategy for the approach
A Dharma Life Entrepreneur Profile
Gayatri Devi is a 37-year-old Dharma Life Entrepreneur (DLE) from Parsa in Uttar Pradesh. She is married with 3 children. Before learning about Dharma Life, Gayatri was a simple housewife. Three years ago, she met a DLE who showed her how she could work to empower women like herself and help her community. With Dharma Life, her profile within the community rose. She was soon appointed by her village leader to lead a Self Help Group as part of the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (a government-supported poverty alleviation program). Today she is leading her entire block of villages (approx. 150 villages).
To understand more about Gayatri’s quality of life (QoL) with respect to the CCH focus areas, Dharma Life ran a baseline survey in selected villages. Respondents were divided into three groups: DLEs (the core Clean and Connected Homes group), other households (105 randomly selected households per village) and Retailers (5 shops per village).
Survey results showed vast room for improvement within both the DLE group and the wider community groups. Gayatri and 199 other DLE’s like her showed that they had no handwash training, no RO water filters (Clean Water), and low solar lamp ownership (Clean Energy). Previous Dharma Life intervention had led to high ownership of induction cooking (Clean Cooking), good practice of menstrual hygiene (Sanitation), and high smartphone ownership (Digital Literacy).
To address the need for further progress in these areas, Dharma Life designed and launched a series of activities associated with the CCH concepts, such as the ’21 handwash tracker’, which asks participants to track handwashing by submitting pictures for 21 days to encourage habit formation or the ‘Lights, Camera, Action!’ event, a cultural show demonstrating effectiveness of solar lights through community engagement, combined with home and group visits to promote sales and addressing causes of skepticism and barriers to adoption.
Outcomes & Impact
After participating in the CCH activities, Gayatri and her fellow DLE reported a marked improvement in their quality of life. DLEs reported full compliance across all focus areas of the Clean and Connected Home. Gayatri reported having at least one solar lamp, a RO water filter, and an induction stove in her house. She had participated in Dharma Life’s handwash training, reported practicing good menstrual hygiene and owned a smartphone.
“Whenever my children complained about eye burn, we used to see a doctor or use eye drops. All this had a cost. Now with the induction cookstove and solar light, this problem has been solved and we save the money as well […] I save a lot of time. Now I can cook food and watch television at the same time. With the use of induction, I can prepare tea and clean my house simultaneously.” – Gaytri Devi, interview
Overall, the campaign reached 41,028 direct beneficiaries and 164,112 indirect beneficiaries in 600 villages. The wider community saw benefits that included access to sustainable products (e.g. solar lamps), training sessions (e.g. handwash training), and knowledge transfer from the DLEs.