Student Fellowship 2019-05-06T20:13:32+00:00

Student Fellowship

for young people based outside India


Come and experience a deep dive into the new age of development, work on strategic business projects and make a difference to the lives of families living in India’s urban slums.

Student Fellowship Overview

What is this program all about?

Designed to foster tomorrow’s leaders, Pollinate Energy’s Student Fellowship program brings together young people from all backgrounds who have a passion for improving lives through social business models and environmentally sustainable solutions.

You will spend 3-4 weeks on the ground in one of our city offices with a team of aspiring young changemakers who are keen to pursue a career that truly makes a difference. You will learn about the lives of families living in India’s slums and spend time interacting with them to understand their challenges and needs, and you will put that learning into practice as you work alongside our team on strategic projects that help improve our business.

During your time in India you will create a lasting impact – both for yourself and for the communities that we serve. Watch this short video put together by a former group of Fellows to find out more.

Why should I do it?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, this program is right for you!

What will I be doing on the program?

We have created a program with a blend of office and field work, so that you get the most rounded experience of working in a social enterprise at the bottom of the pyramid. Typically, you will spend the mornings together in the office working on the research and testing side of your projects, and then you will spend the afternoons in the field conducting product testing, supporting Pollinators or surveying customers as per the requirements of your program. Through your time in the field you will gain valuable insights into how our customers live and the challenges that they face, and the projects you work on will directly impact their lives for the better.

In addition, you will participate in personal and professional development sessions led by Pollinate Energy City Leaders. This is your opportunity to self-reflect, understand what truly motivates you, learn more about the social enterprise landscape and find your path forward.

City Program

You will travel to one of our city offices in India, where you will stay for 3-4 weeks.

Each day you work in small teams on a strategic project that will help Pollinate Energy grow. The projects are determined closer to the program dates to match your skills and our needs, but examples of projects include:

  • Conducting community surveys and market analyses to recommend new product lines
  • Developing new branding strategies and collateral to support our Pollinators to sell effectively
  • Sourcing and trialling new products in communities and seeking customer feedback
  • Mapping slum communities across the city and collecting customer data through interviews

Scout Program

We have big plans to grow across India and scale our impact. By joining a Scout program you will travel to a new city in India where we are not yet operating, and help us assess the suitability of those cities for Pollinate Energy. You work with our team to undertake a comprehensive needs assessment and answer questions such as:

  • What is the size of the slum population?
  • What are the primary needs of the slums and do they have access to basic products and services?
  • What other organisations are already working in those slums?

You will ultimately help us make a decision – should Pollinate move into this city?

What does it all cost?

There is a fundraising requirement for the Fellowship:

  • City Programs – AU$2,800
  • Scout Programs – AU$3,000 (to cover additional travel costs)

In order for us to host you, your fundraising target should be met two weeks prior to arrival. There is an upfront non-refundable deposit of AU$300 to secure your place on the program.

Your participation on this program, and the funds that you raise, are critical to the expansion of our work in India. If for any reason you can no longer participate we ask that you inform us as soon as possible so that we can replace you with another well-deserving candidate. Any cancellation in the final 28 days leading up to your trip will incur a cancellation fee of $500 (which includes your $300 deposit).

Further Information

The funds you raise will cover the majority of your costs while you are staying with us on the program. You will need to cover your own costs for flights to and from India, visa, travel insurance, personal travel beyond the program, and lunch each day.

50% of all fellowship funds  go towards our work in India providing life-changing products to people who need them most.

We don’t discriminate based on your field of study, but rather look for people who are driven by a sense of purpose and desire to make the world a better place. The program is competitive and better suited to students in their final years of university, but that’s more of a guideline than a rule. In your application, it’s important to focus on something you feel you have gone out of your way to achieve, whether that be personally, academically or professionally.

While fundraising can seem overwhelming, our alumni tell us it is actually one of the best parts of the whole Pollinate Energy experience, and they are surprised and overwhelmed by the support they receive. Our superstar fundraising alumni have shared their stories to help you on your journey, and we will provide you with one-on-one feedback and curated photos and materials to help you build your campaign.

We also partner with some major Universities in Australia that provide sponsorship, so check out links on this page to see if you can get support.

Download our fundraising pack here!

Once you are accepted into a program, you will be supported closely by the Pollinate Energy team to help you prepare for the journey. This includes:

  • An online meet and greet with the rest of your Fellowship team
  • A face to face meet up (where possible) with one of our alumni to hear about their experience fundraising and on the program
  • A pre-departure training session, with more detail about our organisation, your role, and your projects

Upon arrival in India, you will have an additional training and induction where you will learn more about the products we sell, our operations, and all the important health and safety information for life on the ground.

You will be living in a shared environment with the rest of the program participants for the duration of your time on the program. However, we do provide you with time off to explore and socialise, as well as information about things to do. Program teams often organise day tours or overnight trips to explore nearby sights and learn more about Indian culture. You can also organise day hiking trips, go shopping or head out for drinks at the local watering hole. There is truly something for everyone in India!

The program is run by Pollinate Energy’s City Leaders. Each City Leader has their own story to share and has been selected on their ability to lead inspiring and motivating programs to make sure you have the best possible hands-on experience in social enterprise.



It seems cliche, but the past 5 weeks have been an absolute whirlwind. For those of you who didn’t know, I’ve spent the past 33 days (31 of which I’ve spent sick, with a myriad of illnesses) travelling and working in India.
 While I was prepared to be challenged, I never thought I’d experience half the things I did. Never did I think I’d walk away from my Pollinate Energy fellowship having visited 62 of Lucknow’s urban slums. Never did I think I would meet such hospitable people in these communities, and never did I think I’d walk away with such faith in the power renewable energy has to change lives so significantly.

If you ever get the opportunity to go on a Pollinate fellowship, I’d say go for it. It will question everything you think you know and every bit of the person you think you are, but along the way you will learn so much. I’m so grateful to have spent the past month living with the other Fellows and our City Leaders, and being able to immerse myself in their passion and drive to build a more sustainable future.

I feel so lucky to be able to walk away from this experience so motivated and excited by how I might one day use this energy to help power the world.

Angela Begg, Fellow 2018

The program was a deeply moving experience. I was inspired by the people who have spent their life in slums; their strong sense of community and how highly they value family and friendship. It was special to walk through the slum communities at night and see the families that were benefiting from the solar lights and fans they had purchased from Pollinate. I also grew close to the other volunteers and I know they will be friends for life. Georgia McKenzie, 2017 Fellow

Georgia McKenzie, Fellow 2017

Overall, the experience was amazing. It was an eye-opening experience about how easy it is to become complacent with disadvantaged communities around you and accept this as way of life, when in reality you have the power and skill to make a difference. We were well looked after by our leaders, and it was really good to get to know likeminded people.

Shuchi Gupta, Fellow 2018

What I experienced was nothing short of remarkable. The fellowship program was such a rewarding experience for the effort that we put in as a group. Seeing the results of some of the programs and witnessing the actual difference we made being there was outstanding. The work was hard, but experience from university projects during study really played a key role to the success of our team.

Sean Findlay, Fellow 2018

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