Prabhat - Developing Sustainable and Inclusive Communities
Prabhat is the sustainable community development initiative of HUL, that is linked to Unilever Compass. It builds on local community needs at a grassroot level, in line with India’s development agenda and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By doing so, it’s contributing to a fairer and more socially and environmentally inclusive world, while using HUL’s scale for good.
It’s ultimate purpose is to create sustainable communities in and around our sites through focused interventions on Economic Empowerment (skilling, entrepreneurship and value chain development), Environmental Sustainability (water conservation, waste management and climate adaptation), Health (nutrition and WASH) and Education (basic infrastructure). By doing so, Prabhat aims to achieve the following community goals:
- Water positive
- Zero waste to landfill
- Carbon neutral
- Income surplus
- Access to health and nutrition to all
- Access to education to all
By enhancing employability skills and income generation among rural communities, Prabhat’s Livelihood centres have been instrumental in bringing about a positive change. We have collaborated with multiple social enterprises and NGOs such as LabourNet, American India Foundation, Yusuf Meherally Centre, Institute of Livelihood Research and Training, Anudip Foundation and Mooo Farms with the aim of improving the income of women and youth through skill development training for employment and self-employment; and value chain entrepreneurship development.
The skill development training focusing on women and youth across locations are conducted in the areas of local need such as beauty and hair care, tailoring, retail sales, electricals, e-commerce, data entry operator/tally, web and graphic designing, laptop and mobile repair, welding and plumbing and more. Financial and digital literacy are also included from time to time in the training sessions to hone them holistically, making the students future-ready.
Other significant areas of non-farm-based livelihood training include becoming solar electricians, painters and decorators, upcycling plastic and other waste into value-added products etc. These could provide salaried jobs or may enable beneficiaries to start their own ventures. Thus far over 72,000 people have been certified in skill-based training.
In 2019, Prabhat launched a first-of-its-kind livelihood centre in Kolkata wherein Persons with Disability (PwDs) are certified in Web Designing, Tally, E-commerce and Graphic Designing.
Through a recently held digital ceremony, 30 specially-abled people have completed the course at our centre. Keeping the changing needs of the communities at the forefront due to the advent of COVID-19, training for Telemedicine Healthpreneurs and Sanitation and Hygiene Entrepreneurs (SHEs) were especially commenced from 2020 to fulfil the demand and supply gap for health and sanitation services in different locations.
Furthering the entrepreneurship agenda under the farm-based livelihood interventions at Prabhat, specific agri-value chain interventions have been undertaken for dairy and horticultural produce. The aim is to reduce the input costs and increase the quality and quantity of outputs produce, by promotion of good practices and technology-based producers’ engagement.
Specifically, through Project Mooo, an app-based intervention for dairy farmers, technology is used to enhance the income of dairy farmers. The other value chains interventions where Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) and Self-Help Groups (SHGs) are being strengthened include maize, pulses, tomato, mahua, custard apple, goatry and poultry.
With the aim of promoting community collectives and value chain interventions, over 5,000 women have benefited through Prabhat’s value chain linked entrepreneurship model, enhancing their employability and the income of the local community.
As a responsible business, we are creating a larger shared value with business expansions, ensuring innovative and sustainable interventions. Prabhat’s interventions on water, waste, and afforestation running in the community are a part of this agenda.
Water stewardship is based on the principle of there being a collective need for sustainable water-resources. Unilever aligns with this vision and hence is committed to implementing water stewardship programmes around manufacturing sites in water-stressed locations.
Working with the farmers around HUL factories, Prabhat helps manage the demand and supply of water that gets used in agricultural practices. Mapping community water resources to provide innovative water conservation techniques, this programme helps collectively build robust water structures. Along with the governance of water at the village level, farmers also receive improved access across cropping seasons. Strengthening the water governance at the village level through Paani Panchayats, the initiative has benefitted more than 21,000 farmers and a total of over 56 billion litres of water has been conserved and assured so far.
Combined with our learnings from this programme, the best practices of our peers and adopting the Alliance for Water Stewardship Standard, we’re all set to take collective action on local water resources.
Under Prabhat, we have launched a waste management programme that helps promote the concept of zero waste to landfill in communities. Focusing on circularity of both wet waste (biodegradable waste) and plastic waste, the project has been undertaking multiple activities - from awareness sessions for waste segregation at source, to the creation of a community biogas plant, behaviour change communications and promotion of kitchen gardens at a household level.
Launched first in Haridwar in partnership with Swayambhu, the biogas plant uses 200 kgs of waste per day to power twenty streetlights, saving 2.4 Kw energy per day in Haridwar. The project has further upcycled plastic waste to create handwashing stations. Each handwashing station is made of 75 kgs of compressed plastic and has a no-touch foot paddle adhering to COVID-19 protocols. Cleaning drives across the ghats of the Ganga river have also been executed, spreading awareness on the importance of cleanliness and protecting nature.
Prabhat in partnership with Parmarth Samaj Sevi Sansthan organised afforestation drives in Sumerpur, UP and Chhindwara, MP. Another tree plantation drive was carried out in partnership with Industrial Associations and Municipal Corporation of Rajpura, Punjab. These initiatives led to the total plantation of over 30,000 saplings.
Health & wellbeing
The health and wellbeing of our rural communities is of utmost importance to us. Prabhat launched the School Contact Programme (SCP) on nutrition in 2019 wherein HUL employees volunteered as ‘Nutrition Ambassadors’ explaining the importance of healthy eating and healthy living to school children. The initiative helps communities ‘grow healthy together.’ The SCP programme has reached out to more than 1,50,000 school children so far. HUL employee volunteers from the shopfloor also reach out to the community on hygiene as 'Swacchata Doots' teaching simple practices like hand washing and sanitation. They have, in turn touched the lives of more than 40 lakh people in the rural hinterland.
Project Prabhat also aligns with the National Nutrition Mission through its ‘Poshan Saathis’ programme, focused on the health of women, especially pregnant and lactating women (PLW). Using a life cycle approach, it focuses on building a cadre of women who are buddying rural women in their nutrition journey. A network of Poshan Saathis propagates behaviour change on nutrition to adolescent girls, general women, mothers of children under five and PLW. The Poshan Saathis have reached out to over 84,000 rural women, empowering them with better decision-making abilities on health, a result of health literacy dissemination and demystifying of nutritional myths.
- Prabhat has reached close to 6 million people across 19 states and 2 union territories since its inception in 2013.
- During COVID-19, more than 1.3 million people across 230 locations benefitted from relief kits distribution in 2020, including lifebuoy soaps, grocery kits and food packets.
- Nearly 18 of Prabhat’s Livelihood Centres have provided over 72,000 skill development certifications, successfully generating employment for more than 49,000 people of which 70% are women.
- Prabhat as of date has five Telemedicine centres running across the country.
- Over 1 lakh women have benefitted through a network of 100 Poshan Saathis.
- More than 56 billion litres of water has been conserved and assured by working in agri-communitites.