Mariana Gallo


Mariana graduated in 2011 from Edinburgh University with a MSC in Science, Technology and International Development. She has worked in development in Argentina and Kenya, focusing in energy issues, Innovation and knowledge transfer. She joined Practical Action in November 2011, working with Practical Action Consulting, Practical Answers (Practical Action's technical enquiry service) and in Reconstruction and Energy programmes.

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Posts by Mariana

  • The importance of energy

    February 9th, 2012

    During my research with the PISCES programme in Kenya I investigated the benefits of biofuels for development, and difficulties and politics associated with it.

    Working with such a controversial topic, I have learnt that the challenge for development is not only about providing energy, but also about developing knowledge and facilitating policies that ensure technologies will benefit those who need it most. I have seen, for example, how farmers can gain an income and a fuel for lighting from their jatropha plantations, or how ethanol is changing the lives of women that can now cook with a clean, affordable fuel:  I have learnt that energy is about livelihoods, possibilities and freedom.

    Hanna produces jathopa oil on her farm in eastern Kenya

    The Kenyan experience demonstrated the importance of energy, reaffirmed by the UN declaration of 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All’.  Energy affects all aspects of life and development: livelihoods, access to water, agricultural productivity, health, population levels, education, and gender-related issues. Considering that wood smoke is a cause of 1.5 million deaths a year is enough to realise these strong links. Moreover, the estimation that 900 million people will not have access to electricity by 2030, helps understanding how energy access is also linked with inequality.

    Energy goes through all our development work, affecting people from their participation in markets to reconstruction efforts. Thinking about energy in this holistic way places energy access as one of the main challenges for development. Providing energy is not only about delivering appropriate technologies, but understanding needs and facilitating long lasting solutions that can boost development and growth in those places in the world that need it most. Practical Action’s work on energy and the Poor people’s energy outlook 2012 constitute big steps towards a sustainable energy future.

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