Problem: Remote rural communities lack access to energy, clean water and are isolated from the mainstream cash-based economy.
Solution: Up Trade (Goats for Water) is a solution providing solar powered water pumps through a barter exchange for goats, rather than money in order to ease the economic marginalization of remote communities in Pakistan.
Goals and objectives: To enable smallholder rural farming communities access off-grid electricity and clean water to meet their farming and household, bringing about economic and social prosperity to the most vulnerable and marginalized members of society, improving the quality of life for women and girls through easy access to clean water, energy, and farming inputs.
Implementation: UpTrade was created in 2016 by Fariel Salahuddin, a former power sector consultant with extensive experience in energy policy, finance and project management for the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. During her assignment, Ms. Salahuddin visited numerous communities to establish a firsthand understanding of off-grid electricity communities. Ms. Salahuddin discovered that these communities supplement their incomes by raising livestock but faced severe challenges due to scarcity of electricity and access to water for human consumption and livestock.
By reviewing the Benazir Income Support Programme (an unconditional poverty reduction cash transfer program) data, the team at UpTrade discovered that the poorest in these remote communities owned a considerable proportion of goats/sheep, which provided an entry point to develop a poverty reduction program targeting the poorest communities by impacting small animal farming households.
UpTrade provides small-holder farming communities water and electricity access through the use of solar powered water pumps. This creates an alternate cash-less, livestock indexed system, by-passing the cash-based system, enabling local communities to use their livestock as currency, using a digital platform, E-Mandi, to facilitate that exchange. This electronic livestock market platform provides an innovative solution to small-holder livestock farmers and low income households looking for direct access to markets and alternative financing mechanisms.
Through the Goats for Water initiative, the water stressed rural communities leverage their assets and unlock the non-cash liquidity of their livestock to purchase solar water pumps using their livestock as currency. UpTrade’s technical team and product partners design, install and maintain solar based pumping solutions based on the specific water requirements of each community, hydraulic profile of the area and the communities financial capacity.
Access to energy is also a significant challenge for the communities in rural Pakistan. Hence, another initiative, Goats for Solar provides a similar barter financing solution to off-grid rural communities, enabling them to trade their livestock for access to solar energy products and solar micro-grids. UpTrade’s Goats for Solar model grants them access to clean, renewable energy systems and products such as solar lighting, fans, televisions, radios and charging stations for mobile phones.
UpTrades online platform also provides a mechanism for the sale of village assets (goats) as well as an innovative medium for the purchase of goats for the Islamic holiday EID and other religious duties such as Sadqa and Zakat.
UpTrade has provided a faster and more efficient way for women to collect water, allowing free time to focus on education, practicing local handicrafts and other household chores. UpTrade has led to 1,460 hours of labour saved per woman per year, impacting 8,500 women and girls.
The program has allowed for 2,830 families to have access to clean water and energy which greatly improves health and hygiene for all households in impacted villages.
Address: Karachi, Pakistan