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Wind Turbines To Solar Tracking: Why IIT Madras Is The First Student Destination Of 2018

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With alarming levels of pollution and the potential energy crisis, it is unquestionable that something needs to be done. While we are all aware of this serious issue, are we doing what’s necessary to alleviate the problem?

The current scenario of energy in India, especially rural India, is nothing to be proud of. There is still an estimated 240 million people in this country who do not have access to electricity. Remote locations and poor transport facilities have only made the challenge harder. Surprisingly, more than 67.3% of rural Indian households still use firewood for cooking. Also, 4.3 million people die every year from exposure to household air pollution. Basic needs such as access to the grid seem to be a big ask for a lot of us.

Solutions to these problems lie in renewable and decentralised energy. India has huge potential in this sector. Currently, India has the world’s seventh largest production capacity of solar energy and is making great progress in this field, having quadrupled its solar generation capacity from 2,650 MW in 2014 to 12,289 MW in 2017. Wind energy too has shown good progress and India currently stands fourth worldwide in wind energy capacity. All this has led to India setting itself an ambitious target of sourcing 175 gigawatts of energy from renewable sources.

While the government is frequently coming out with several renewable energy farms, a frequently overlooked topic is policies concerning green energy. As far as power generation is concerned, everyone is a consumer and a stakeholder – right from individuals to small businesses to large corporates to the government itself. Policies that incentivise the use of renewable energy should be strongly encouraged as not only does it save costs, in the long run, it also helps in reducing the carbon footprint of the company. Policies that support research on making green energy sources more viable and efficient would also be very beneficial for the cause.

The students at IIT Madras are attempting to understand this complex but essential sector of green energy by organising the Green Energy Summit during their annual technical festival, Shaastra that will happen from January 4, 2018, to January 7, 2018.

With over 1000 student registrations, only a selected group of 100 participants will witness and be a part of lectures, workshops, panel discussions, and so on spread over four days. The participants will be given the opportunity to interact with experts and hone their ideas. These events will be centred around giving participants the knowledge they need in going ahead with their desire to make a change in the field of green energy. This year, there will also be an open to all panel discussion on ‘Impact of Climate Change Policies on the Poor’.

This year, the Summit team is also conducting the ‘Rural Energy Challenge’. Participants have been working tirelessly over four months to build a green energy product to alleviate the energy problems of a village of their choice. Each participant has visited their target village multiple times, interacting with the people of the local community, village panchayats and listening to the issues they face. These teams then went back to the drawing board, redesigned their solutions, and then took their solution to the village and its people to check its feasibility and acceptance.

Participants of the Rural Energy Challenge meeting with village officials of Vitlapuram village, to understand their energy needs.

A few of the amazing products developed by the REC teams include:

– A Vertical Axis Wind Turbine: Present windmills face issues with handling winds coming from different directions. The Vertical Axis Wind Turbine addresses such issues dealing with fatigue on the shafts and the angle of attack on the blades.
– A Biomass Briquette: Biomass Briquette is a renewable, carbon-neutral and smokeless energy source obtained by compaction of Biomass.
– A Solar Tracking and Prioritizing System: Ensures that the solar potential of a region is utilised to the maximum using smart tracking systems.

India is on the brink of an energy transformation. With the government setting policies in place and aggressively adapting to renewable energy solutions, the stage is set for us to try and find ways to lift millions of citizens out of energy poverty. For this to happen effectively, it is up to us to reach out and help out those less fortunate than us.

At the Green Energy Summit, Shaastra 2018, this is exactly what the team has set out to do. The Rural Energy Challenge proves that all it takes to create a difference is the motivation to do so, and we encourage you to come down to Shaastra to educate and engage with the future for planet earth – green energy.

By Green Energy Summit team (Vamsi Krishna, Kaushik GV, Ramya Kannan, Advaith Sridhar,Varun Sairam, Sanjeev Parameswaran, Kushal Reddy, Kanish CB, Maurya Teja, Vishnu Harshith and Rishabh Verma)

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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