Johannes Wilson, Rosanna Sanderson and Belinda Dods

15 August 2013 — Three young professionals are travelling to India to help not-for-profit Pollinate Energy improve the livelihood of families living below the poverty line and support local micro-entrepreneurs.

AECOM landscape architect Belinda Dods from Sydney, environmental engineer Rosanna Sanderson from Brisbane and engineering geologist Johannes Wilson from Christchurch will visit Bangalore as part of Pollinate Energy’s Young Professionals Program.

Pollinate Energy co-founder and director Emma Colenbrander said the program brought together Australian professionals with Indian micro-entrepreneurs to help promote the distribution of safer, more affordable clean energy solutions to urban poor communities.

“It is estimated that 1.3 billion people worldwide, including 300 to 400 million in India, live without access to electricity,” she said.

“Energy poverty may be hard to imagine for those able to flick on a light switch every night, but a lack of safe, affordable lighting can mean everything from unsafe living conditions, difficulty performing household tasks and the inability to work or study when the sun goes down.”

Many Indian communities instead rely on kerosene lanterns, which are dangerous and emit toxic fumes.

“Pollinate Energy works to train and support local micro-entrepreneurs as they deliver clean energy technologies, such as solar lighting and smokeless cook stoves, to India’s poor communities,” Ms Colenbrander said.

“This enables India’s low-income earners to improve their productivity, removes the financial burden of unsustainable fuels, provides a safer living environment and has a positive social impact.”

AECOM Australia New Zealand chief executive Michael Batchelor said AECOM was the first corporate partner for the Young Professionals Program.

“AECOM sees social businesses like those championed by Pollinate Energy as a solution to environmental, energy and economic challenges,” he said.

“During their time in India, Belinda, Rosanna and Johannes will provide local entrepreneurs with feedback and ideas development, while having the opportunity to develop professionally through their involvement in an international social business.

“They will mentor entrepreneurs – ‘Pollinators’ – as they introduce smokeless cookstoves into their product range, contributing to the dramatic reduction of indoor air pollution, a killer of 875,000 people in India every year.”

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