Rajnish Jain has an MBA from Lucknow University. After having tried various jobs in management consultancy and software development, he started exploring an alternative carrier in rural development. Rajnish worked with various rural development groups working at grassroots level, on issues ranging from renewable energy to integrated rural development. Rajnish also worked with several international development organizations, consulting on evaluations, identification and sustainability. In 1997 Rajnish, together with his wife Rashmi Bahrti, co-founded the Kumaon chapter of the Barefoot College, which they later registered as Avani in 1999 and continued to work on developing & disseminating appropriate technology and livelihood opportunities for rural areas.
He has over 13 years of experience in social business development, program design and implementation, fund raising, team building, and finance control. He is passionate about renewable energy for rural areas, and responsible for visualizing, developing and setting up technology pilot for pine needle gasification and is providing leadership to this enterprise – ‘harvesting the destructive energy of pine needles for rural areas’. He was given The Amazing Indian Award by Times Now, and won Saprk The Rise as well as Inclusive Innovation Award among many others for this work. Rajnish has also represented AVANI in several national and international events and is an IDDS (www.iddsummit.org a group committed to developing technologies with communities rather than simply providing the technologies to them) and GSBI Alumnus (Global Social Business Incubator – a program of Santa Clara University’s Center for Science Technology and Society).
AVANI is a nonprofit organization, working in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, located in the middle ranges of the Central Himalayan region. In order to support the isolated communities and the far-flung villages, we initiated work on developing and disseminating appropriate technologies for meeting the energy and water requirements of the villages, promoting craft and farm based livelihood opportunities.
AVANI has used enterprise model for driving development. In the process a separate solar energy enterprise has been developed where rural youth have been trained to produce solar lights and water heating systems for use in the villages. Another enterprise producing naturally dyed, natural silk and wool textiles has been organized as a cooperative involving almost 700 farmers (producing silk and natural dyes) and artisans crafting textiles. We have also set up an early stage enterprise producing electricity and cooking charcoal from waste pine needles for rural energy needs.