Clean energy has the power to transform lives
When communities gain access to energy it improves almost every aspect of life. Energy powers up homes, businesses, and communities. It enables schools and clinics to function, improving education and health outcomes. It enables farmers and tradespeople to be more productive, grow their businesses, and earn better incomes. It improves security and quality of life for refugees, enabling them to generate an income, continue children’s education and take their lives off hold. Energy unlocks opportunities previously denied, and can transform everything.
Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) calls for “affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” by 2030.
However, significant challenges remain in achieving this. At Practical Action, our aim is to enable millions more people in ‘last mile’ communities to access and use energy for their homes, businesses, and communities, including refugees, displaced people, and their host communities.
Which is why our energy experts are taking part in the Humanitarian Energy Conference and Sustainable Energy for All Forum, that bring together global leaders from government, business, development institutions, civil society and many others to build partnerships, share expertise, and form important commitments related to energy and climate goals ahead of COP27 in Egypt later this year.
10:30 – 12:30 Central Africa Time
Deep Dive on Electrification – Learning from Market-Based Approaches and Public-Private Partnerships for Sustainable Delivery
A majority of displaced communities live without access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable electricity. Min-grids offer a solution to reach scale in off-grid displacement situations in the medium term, while solutions such as solar home systems and energy efficient appliances can be applied immediately to meet household and small business electricity needs (if the right financing and flexible payment models are in place). This ‘how to’ session explores recent attempts to deliver electricity access to end users through market-based approaches and sustainable financial models. This session will provide space for discussions around these experiences and to reflect on successes, failures and learnings.
Practical Action experts, Mattia Vianello (Head of Energy) and Laura Clarke (Manager of RE4R), will be the expert moderators of the session, bringing their experience in mini-grids and solar home systems. Our private sector partner, Belcom SHS, will share their experience entering into the refugee market in Rwanda.
13.30 – 15.00 Central Africa Time
Upskilling the Sector – What skills and data are needed to ensure sustainable delivery of energy access?
This is one of two parallel sessions focused on gaps in energy expertise, development of business models and innovative financing to reach scale. In this group discussion Trama TecnoAmbiental (TTA), will share learnings from working with the World Bank, ESMAP and Practical Action Consulting, to integrate sustainable delivery model thinking into project design in the Sahel region.
17.00 – 18.00 Central Africa Time
Expert Panel on State of the Humanitarian Energy Sector – Progress, Challenges, and Actions Moving Ahead
The expert panel will launch a new report ‘The State of the Humanitarian Energy Sector: Challenges, Progress and Issues in 2022’. With participation from high-level officials and displaced people, the panel discussion will address the current state of the humanitarian energy sector to analyse and discuss the content of the report – including progress on key topics and recommendations for future programming and policymaking, to ensure that refugees and internally displaced people are not left behind in the clean energy transition. Practical Action’s expertise and experience in market systems features within this report.
Practical Action staff will help facilitate discussion between panellists and residents from the Kigale Refugee Camp, to ensure the lived experience of refugees and their voices are included within the debate.
Wednesday 18 May
11.00 – 12.00 Central Africa Time
Last Mile and Displaced Communities – Energy for all
Co-hosted by Practical Action and UNITAR, this session will explore how to build energy markets that reach the bottom of the pyramid with life changing energy products and services, drawing from first-hand experiences in humanitarian and other last-mile contexts. The discussion will interest anyone keen to work in partnership to collectively ramp-up sustainable energy access in the hardest-to-reach communities. Practical Action panellists include Emma Colenbrander, from the Global Distributors Collective (GDC), and Denyse Umubyeyi, from the Renewable Energy for Refugees (RE4R) programme.
- The energy needs of humanitarian/displacement settings must be integrated into the wider energy access agenda – leaving no-one behind.
- The humanitarian sector fully recognises the key role of energy in humanitarian responses.
- Humanitarian agencies take a facilitator role, delivering on their protection and crisis response, as well as providing the enabling environment for inclusive markets, and space for alternative approaches (such as the Practical Action / Renewable Energy for Refugees), to successfully operate.
- In order to leave no-one behind, energy markets need to embed the right mechanisms to reach last mile and make products affordable to the poorest.
- Energy access interventions in agriculture should start from an understanding of the needs of smallholder farmers and of the value chains they work in.
- Systemic approaches are needed, encompassing both agriculture and energy systems.
- Focus beyond economic and livelihoods benefits, to impacts on the wider system and environment.