Impact, Pollinate India

Hi, I’m Megan Aspinall, a renewable energy engineer based in AECOM’s Melbourne office. Together with a few of my AECOM colleagues, I’m currently in Bangalore, India, taking part in Pollinate Energy’s second Young Professionals Program. Below is my first post, following on from Chris Austin-Berry’s first post earlier this week. Share our journey!

The first few days in Bangalore have been an amazing and eye-opening experience. Delicious food, welcoming people, exotic smells and vibrant colours. Over the next two weeks, the Young Professionals group will be conducting an impact assessment for Pollinate Energy, an organisation tackling energy poverty in the urban slums of Bangalore. I’m excited about the journey ahead and hopeful that we can make a lasting impact on the future strategy of Pollinate Energy as it plans its expansion into other Indian cities.


On day one, we headed straight into the urban slum communities to talk directly with Pollinate Energy’s customers and hear their stories. I felt inspired by the determined attitude of people to improve their family’s lives, despite the challenging circumstances. It was heart-warming to understand the positive impact that reliable, affordable and safe energy has had on their lives with Pollinate Energy solar lighting products. Growing up in Australia, lighting a room was as simple as flicking a switch and didn’t require much thought. In the urban slums in Bangalore, lighting a room is a luxury and provides endless possibilities. Without solar light products, slum communities rely on kerosene lamps, which have alarming safety and health concerns.

Light has various benefits. Light allows mothers to see their children, enables children to study and provides safe cooking areas. The first image below shows Mary, an inspirational woman living in the urban slums of Bangalore. Mary told me that the solar light has “put power in her hands.” The second image below includes Ghandiyappan, a community leader showing us how he uses the solar light in his shop. During the consultations a Mahatma Ghandi quote resonated with me: “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”



This experience has helped me understand that reliable and safe energy is a fundamental building block for development. Sustainable development improves the lives of individuals and grows the capability of the wider community and the world.

Until next time,


Originally published Apr 4, 2014

Author: Megan Aspinall