Like water, food, health, education and housing, access to energy is a vital human need. Energy allows us to heat and light our homes, to produce and preserve food or medicines, to travel and to guarantee our safety.
Today, more than 1.3 billion people in the world are without electricity. Knowing that access to energy is a path towards progress and development, ACTED works to provide access to reliable, affordable and sustainable energy to the world’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged populations.
How can we guarantee access to energy for all while preserving the planet? As part of its strategic programme, "Zero Exclusion, Zero Carbon, Zero Poverty," ACTED promotes eco-efficient, low-carbon and human development solutions through renewable energy.
ACTED and its Ugandan partners Dream Shuttle and Mandulis Energy have a common objective: to help farmers feed and provide energy to the people of Uganda, while respecting the environment. This is the triple objective of their REPARLE project: energy security, food security and climate resilience.
In Uganda, 75% of the population works in the agricultural sector, which accounts for 37% of the country’s GDP. Yet farmers struggle to access affordable and quality agro-industrial equipment. 95% of rural communities are still not connected to the electricity grid. And while energy access remains low, CO2 emissions have increased by 350% since 1990, largely due to the use of diesel and heavy fuel oil. Furthermore, 85% of rural families use charcoal (up to 168 kg per year per person).
This lack of access to clean energy is having an alarming environmental impact. Uganda has already lost a third of its national forest cover since 1990. If nothing is done, the forest could be completely decimated by 2050.
Transforming agricultural practices
REPARLE supports rural communities in Uganda by providing them with access to affordable agro-industrial resources and clean energy. The project partners provide farmers with the training and tools they need to increase their productivity.
What is the REPARLE solution? To give a second life to agricultural waste, biomass converted into clean electricity by gasification. This technique allows farms outside of the electricity grid to have access to power at a price significantly lower than the market price.
Biomass presents an integrated solution to ensuring energy security while ensuring food security and climate resilience. It is about contributing to economic development and poverty reduction.
For the first time in Pakistan, women are breaking into the traditionally male-dominated solar energy sector.
History of Solar Energy Pioneers in Pakistan
For the inhabitants of Multan district in Pakistan, severe electricity shortages make up one aspect of their wider socio-economic vulnerability. Given the immense potential for solar energy in the region and the lack of qualified solar technicians, ACTED and the Asian Development Bank launched a training programme for solar technology aimed at women, until now significantly under represented within the sector.
54 women have thus far graduated from the course and are already engaged in the installation of solar panels in four of Multan’s schools. Today, 18 of the 54 have also gone on to employment within the sector.
75% of the female technicians reported feeling a greater sense of confidence through participating in the project, and as being better informed of their rights. Over 50% of them also felt a heightened status within their families and their wider communities.
Since the beginning of the Syrian Crisis in 2012, ACTED has worked to ensure access to water for the most vulnerable. The combination of a legacy of neglect and conflict have severely reduced the capacity of public aqueducts in certain regions to a point which means water trucking is the only way to meet the need. An expensive and short term approach which now affects countless communities.
In 2018, ACTED chose to invest in the rehabilitation and solarisation of water infrastructure, as a long-term, sustainable and low cost solution to the supply challenge.
Although ACTED’s concentrates its efforts in responding to humanitarian emergencies, the organisation endeavors to develop and encourage clean energy technologies which are both locally managed and sustainable. Despite the many practical difficulties with implementing such an approach in a conflict zone, the benefits are significant: Thanks to solar energy, the quantity of available water is over 24m3 per day, with installations lasting up to 25 years.