The Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) has caught national and international attention for its stupendous social impact at 12,000 feet altitude in the Himalayas. It has been providing clean energy, digital education and livelihood access for remote off-grid communities in the Himalayas for the last eight years. It leverages tourism and technology to help remote communities access solar energy.
It’s latest is the 2020 United Nations Global Climate Action Award. It won it for electrifying over 130 remote off-grid Himalayan villages with installation of over 1540 solar microgrids. GHE has been creating entrepreneurial models advocating use of energy- efficient products, creating Solar Mountain Homestays. This is resulting in reduced emigration and is preserving Himalayan cultural heritage.
GHE’s 2020 Microgrid Greater Good Award by Microgrid Knowledge magazine, is its second big award this year. “Wherever the road ends, that’s where GHE begins working,” said Paras Loomba, GHE founder, while speaking at Global Microgrid 2020. “People from all over the globe come and join me to electrify the villages,” he added. The fact that this is a “lovely example of microgrids spawning entrepreneurship and community stability,” made the award committee’s job easy.
GHE conducts ‘Impact Expeditions’ to remote Himalayan villages and uses a portion of the expedition fee to fund the capital cost of the hardware, transportation, installation and training of village-scale solar micro-grids. In the Hindu Kush Region, there are more than 16 million people without access to basic energy mainly due to their geographic remoteness.
GHE notes that it has impacted the lives of more than 60,000 villagers. More than 1,300 travelers from 60 different countries have been a part of these expeditions. Enabling livelihood through homestay tourism has generated over USD 114,000 in income for the villages.
- 131 villages electrified
- 60,000 lives impacted
- 35,000 tons carbon offset
- 1316 Impact Travelers
- 55 homestays 45 entrepreneurs
GHE offers a unique blend of experiencing the power of travel and creating a life-long impact on the communities it serves. “All our trips are carbon negative and lead to a sustainable development of the communities we serve, while providing the most authentic and life-changing vacation to the conscious travelers,” reads a company note.
GHE has been recognized at the G20 Ministerial meeting in Japan and was awarded with the first G20 Sustainable Tourism Award in 2019 for the most innovative startup promoting sustainable tourism. This was the first G20 startup innovation competition that took place during the G20 Summit.
Outlook Responsible Tourism Initiative recognized GHE for responsible tourism. GHE was also awarded the 2019 Pathfinder award by IRTA in Delhi.
In 2019, GHE won the FICCI award for special contribution to the tourism industry through community-based tourism.
In 2018, it was awarded the WTTC’s Tomorrow for Tourism award at the 18th WTTC Global Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
GHE develops homestays in the electrified villages and trains the women on tourism and hospitality. These homestays are promoted through an online platform www.mountainhomestays.com which provides unique offbeat experiences.
GHE has opened 20 Innovation Centers to allow students access to offline internet content through Wikipedia, Khan Academy, TED talks and the School Curriculum that is pre-loaded on a 1TB Wi-Fi Server. These centres offer access to education resources and material that sparks their interest in arts, engineering, science, mathematics, history and culture. In 2020, it had covered 9,000 students from 28 schools.
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