Humanitarian Accelerator Programme – April 12th, 2019
On April 11th the Access to Modern Energy pilot took the next step within a second meeting facilitated by RVO and DCHI. Following the kick-off, the participants from the humanitarian sector and the energy experts met once again to present their submitted concept notes. The goal had been to use the connections they made during the kick-off last month, to create new partnerships and consolidate their joint ideas and expertise to form these initial project proposals. Marjanne van der Helm from UNICEF emphasised the learning throughout this process as a benefit. “[this initiative] has opened my eyes to the energy activities that UNICEF is already undertaking,” she shared. “Together with the field offices, I have come to investigate what the challenges and opportunities are to improve and scale up these activities (…) Our partner Practical Action has been key to enrich us with their expertise and learnings from earlier projects”.
During the meeting, the participants received feedback from their peers, from the team of RVO, and from our expert partner Global Plan of Action. On the basis of their pitches and the joint feedback received throughout the session, there was a collective decision made on which concept notes would go under more rigorous review in order to be put forward as full proposals for the available funding. Mark Gibson from Global Plan of Action stated that the multi-perspective setting for the pitches was a benefit in itself: “It’s a challenge to stand up and defend your proposal, as such organisations will start to pull together better proposals in the future if they know they will be quizzed on it by the audience. (…) The feedback was not limited to RVO, it was a nice touch to allow the other proponents to ask questions”.
During our kick-off we set out to catalyse transformation at three levels: To get Access to Modern Energy raised as a greater need for attention in the humanitarian context; to encourage further collaborations with the development and private sector; and to explore the use of market-based approaches to ensure that projects are being designed in a sustainable manner. In total 6 concept notes were submitted and pitched by the different organisations, which all showed great potential, and a fantastic step towards that three-level transformation. On the basis of the set-out criteria, there were three concept notes that were collectively selected by the group as the strongest. RVO will continue to work with these partners so they can be developed into full proposals with the potential to reach sustainable impact.
The first has been proposed by UNICEF and Practical Action: ‘Access to Modern Energy in rural Sudan: Lighting 4 Learning’. In alignment with the project ‘Can’t Wait to Learn’, this project seeks to activate nascent off-grid energy markets in rural Sudan, in order to explore the wider community benefits of solar units in targeted rural settings, thus expanding beyond their current e-learning programme. The second chosen concept note has been developed by Mercy Corps, Save the Children and SNV: ‘AMPERE (Accessing Markets through Private Enterprises for Refugees’ Energy access) for Uganda’. This concept note proposes to create a consortium between all the participating organisations to test, prove and build evidence for market-driven energy access solutions through leveraging existing programmes. Finally, the third chosen concept note was proposed by Dorcas and Zoa: ‘Energy call Ethiopia’. The project intends to encourage economical fuel consumption by using bio-mass briquettes and energy saving stoves that use less wood, cook food more fuel-efficiently, and are affordable.
The session concluded with reflections on our three-fold transformation goals, and the participants’ experiences with this HAP so far. Carlos Sordo from Practical Action and Mark Gibson from Global Plan of Action commended the “very open and transparent way” that the process has been facilitated, which according to Carlos led to “a lot of learning and sharing in the room, which is always very positive”. Moreover Alessandro Galimberti from Avsi recognised the benefit in “The opportunity to meet and work with new and different partners with different skills and experiences”.
Ultimately, the group concluded that such spaces for shared learning and transparency across the expertise of different sectors and organisations had been of great value, and should only be encouraged for the future, especially on the ever-pressing topic of ‘Access to Modern Energy’. We would like to congratulate all the organisations who submitted concept notes, and in doing so are taking part in the wider transformation of humanitarian action.
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Access to Modern Energy is increasingly recognized as an area of humanitarian concern. If communities affected by crises go without proper access to energy, it becomes impossible for them to meet the basic needs of life. In fact, if humanitarian organisations do not adequately address access to energy in their programmes, they risk contributing to the very same problems they aim to solve.