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Friendship is a value-based organisation founded in Bangladesh in 1998 by Runa Khan and Yves Marre, which identifies and reaches the poorest of the poor and the most marginalised communities.The Friendship Summit Energy Project (FSEP) was launched on 1 November 2009, at Gaibandha, with financial support from Summit Power Limited. Under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative of Summit Group, Friendship has started implementing the project to provide the char people of Gaibandha access to solar electricity. The project intends to bring about positive changes among the livelihoods of the target population through smoothening of income generating activities and improved access to other basic needs.Since the last week of November, 2009 till end of the October, 2010 FSEP has been supplying 3.27 Kilowatts electricity among the beneficiaries & Vocational Training Center. These areas are completely off grid area from conventional electricity supplies. Simultaneously carbon emission has been reduced through use of environmentally friendly Solar Home Systems (SHS) instead of traditional fuel. We have successfully reduced their daily expense for purchasing traditional energy fuel.During the above period; FSEP has provided 82 Solar Home System (SHS) installations according to beneficiaries’ requirement at Pagla, Sannasi, Sidhai & Batikamari Char villages & three Vocational Training Centers. Regular sessions were conducted with existing beneficiaries for proper operation of SHS to maintain this system.

Project Activities

  • Introducing the project to the char dwellers
  • Beneficiary selection
  • Documentation
  • Training
  • Upfront payment/SHS installment collection, Deed of Agreement and System Installation

Disbursed Status of SHS
According to the demand analysis and budget allocation of FSEP, we have provided a total number of 82 SHS. 76 SHS have been provided among the char-dwellers & 6 SHSs were provided to Friendship VTC (Weaving, Dying & Printing) at Gaibandha & Kurigram.

Status of Disbursed Solar Home System

Sl. No. Particulars Quantity
1 20 WP 16
2 40 WP 31
3 50 WP 35



Future Plans
Friendship has submitted a second proposal to Summit Power Limited (SPL) for 6 chars in Kurigram district. The project is named Friendship Summit Energy Project II (FSEP II). Just like FSEP, the FSEP II project is designed to provide affordable lighting in rural areas through the installation of Solar Home Systems (SHSs).

1.Goal of the FSEP II
The goal of FSEP II is to provide a holistic solution to the char dwellers – providing electricity, creating demand for productive uses of electricity, training in skills that can be enhanced by electrification for example tailoring, training in maintenance of equipment, savings and managing extra income, create awareness and solutions to the negative impacts of modernization due to electrification and eventually changing mind-sets.

2 .Target Beneficiaries
The direct beneficiaries will be the selected few who will own the solar panels. A total of 194 households will be the direct beneficiaries of the project. Along with the direct beneficiaries, there are indirect beneficiaries, i.e. the rest of the community, on which solar electrification will have a snowballing effect.

3. Implementation Plan
Since there is very limited electricity in the Chars, people have a habit of waking up at dawn and going to bed at dusk. The aim of the project is to make people more productive when there is no natural source of light and create a demand for electricity.

Implementation will be done considering the following categories:

  • School, library and community centre
  • Shops, Market place and income generation activities such as Weaving and dying centre and vocational training
  • Homes
  • Navigation light
  • Since there is no light on the chars and the fishermen do not posses gadgets to help them navigate, it is know that a lot of the fishermen get lost and are unable to return. By providing a navigation light to the chars we can decrease such incidences that the fishermen are faced with in a regular basis.

4. Funding Mechanisms

The proposed fund from SPL will be used to:

  • Conduct baseline survey to understand the status of infrastructural facilities, livelihood activities, electricity supply & options available and the needs & demands of the community.
  • Hire project staff, who will manage the project and provide support to the beneficiaries about the SHS technology and its regular maintenance.
  • Conduct mass awareness and orientation sessions regarding the benefits of having electricity.
  • Acquire SHSs and required accessories.
  • Support initial cost of installation.
  • Train the staff and the community on the technical issues of SHSs, so that by the end of the project period the community can regulate the technology by themselves.
  • Facilitate potential income generation projects at the chars (tea shops, reading centers, small industries, etc.)
  • Keep provision for insurance in case of natural disasters.