The journey began in early 2005, when Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP)
was exploring solutions to alleviate the physical drudgery and health
hazards associated with fuel collection and cooking of rural women. At
the same time, British Petroleum (BP) was seeking NGO partners to enter
new and emerging markets in safe, eco-friendly energy. Utilizing this
co-creation opportunity, BP and SSP went to rural women’s groups to
understand their needs in the household energy sector .Research at the
grassroots level and rural women’s direct involvement led not only to a
product concept, but also to a delivery model involving women’s groups
in every business aspect.
The result: a biofuel stove was developed, under the leadership of BP Energy India Private Limited, with technical support from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. SSP and Covenant Centre for Development (CCD) were an integral part of this product development process, which took one and a half years,.
The organizations jointly established warehouses, formed legal entities and drew up a business agreement. The company, Adharam Energy Private Limited, was formed to stock and distribute the biofuel in SSP’s operational areas in Maharashtra and CCD’s base of operations in Tamil Nadu, taking advantage of both organizations’ well-established networks with communities. Another company founded by SSP called Access Distribution coordinated door to door sales of high quality, locally procured grocery items.In January 2009, Sakhi Unique Rural Enterprise was established, consolidating Adharam Private Limited and Access Distribution in order to increase distribution network and reduce operating costs to create a sustainable company.