Solar Technologies India

Project is NOT seeking applicants for the 2023-2024 cycle

Project title: use of solar technologies to improve health and wellbeing in small plot farmers in Madhya Pradesh, India.

Project members: Dr. John Guilfoyle, Judy Song


In India, the use of biomass-based cooking is widespread, and in 2011, about 50% of India’s households use firewood as the primary cooking fuel, with up to 75% use in rural areas. The burden of collecting firewood often falls on the female members of the household, who source the wood in forested areas around their villages. The use of firewood not only creates problems of deforestation but is also highly harmful to human health due to household air pollution.  Gathering wood in settings that are increasingly far from home exposes girls and women to physical danger as well.


The purpose of the project is to improve the health of families on small plot farms in tribal villages in Madhya Pradesh, India. This will be achieved by using solar cooking & drying instead of the current use of firewood. Solar drying will be used to increase the quantity and quality of food available which will improve food security. These innovative technologies will be introduced to selected communities by local young women who have had the opportunity to get appropriate training. This process will allow families and communities to assess new technologies and to adopt them if they are useful. Its goal is to demonstrate improvements in health, environmental stewardship and economic prosperity. It will highlight the impact of educating young women and allowing them to build capacities that can improve the health and wellbeing of their communities. This is anticipated to have a positive effect on how women are regarded in these communities and will increase participation of girls and women in educational activities and emphasize the important role of women in community development.

With the implementation of solar cookers and dryers, not only does this effectively eliminate the health hazards associated with breathing wood smoke, it also provides a safe method of storing food for an extended period of time, which reduces food wastage, and facilitates transport of goods for sale.


The project will be implemented by Barli Development Institute for Rural Women based in Indore, India, it has been helping to empower rural and tribal women since 1985. This project is also supported by Pebbles to Pearls Foundation, a registered charity with the Canada Revenue Agency, has experience in supporting projects that provide access to education, particularly for girls and women, as a means to prosperity and wellbeing.

Current Progress:

The team has received the Rural Global Health Partnership Initiative (RGHPI) grant from RCCbc to implement the project over the period of 1 year. The installation of the solar cookers and dryers, and the training of the women/girls are currently underway, led by Barli Institute. At the moment, we are not planning to expand our team. However, there will be opportunity in the future for a student to be involved in a proposal to get extended funding for this project.