Women energy auditors

Chilling Prospects: The impact of Climate Saathis in India’s urban slums

Empowering women for climate resilience
Data analysis

The Chilling Prospects 2023 analysis shows that in India, over 215 million people in urban settings are currently estimated to be at high risk due to a lack of access to cooling services, including over 121 million women living in poor urban areas and urban slums. The Mahila Housing Trust (MHT) is empowering women to build climate resilience in slums by becoming Climate Saathis (friends in Hindi). The model builds upon the notion that if the urban poor are provided with the necessary knowledge, tools and leadership skills, they will be able to devise and implement climate-resilient technologies solutions locally.  

Through the Climate Saathis project, women are trained to be energy auditors who encourage households to switch to more energy-efficient lighting, fans and cooling devices and become grassroots-level micro-entrepreneurs, forming a women-led distribution network of efficient and off-grid products. The programme also focuses on educating participants about various aspects of energy, including understanding electricity bills, calculating energy consumption, and identifying sources of energy wastage. Women also encourage households to use building materials and technologies that reduce heat. Passive cooling solutions such as white roofs and improved roofs can reduce home temperatures by up to 6°C. 

Cool roofs are a strategic component of India’s response to increased temperatures. Cities like Ahmedabad are including cool roofs in Heat Action Plans and Monsoon Action Plans, providing a model for other communities to follow.  

To date, around 28,000 energy audits have been undertaken in slum communities, which have saved families over USD 700,000 per year in electricity costs. This support has included the installation of over 200 modular roofs and 500 roofs with solar-reflective white paint. In addition, this has also led to a reduction of 105 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, CO2e, per year. 

The Climate Saathis project is an excellent example of how grassroots-level initiatives can significantly impact climate change mitigation. The project recognizes the important role that women can play in building climate resilience and improving the lives of those living in informal settlements. It also provides a model for other communities to follow. 




Cooling for All