August 2011: SELF participates in UN “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative

I just wanted to send an update to let you know that the Solar Electric Light Fund will be assuming a visible role in the United Nations’ 2012 “Sustainable Energy for All” global initiative, designed to engage governments, the private sector and NGOs to identify solutions in providing universal access to modern energy services to the 1.6 billion people worldwide living in energy poverty.

I’m happy to report that the initiative’s website features SELF’s Solar Market Garden™ drip irrigation system in Benin (see second story appearing in the rotating banner on the homepage) as an example of the types of innovative energy solutions that can help to alleviate extreme poverty, and the project is further discussed as the lead example located within the site’s “Energy Success Stories” section.

Also, I’ve been asked by the U.N. Foundation to co-chair the initiative’s Working Group on Energy and Health, which will be examining, among other issues:

  • Ways to provide access to renewable energy sources for hospitals and health care clinics to support basic and comprehensive medical services;
  • The activities of community health workers and traditional health workers; and,
  • Access to energy services to enable emergency communications and remote consultations for patients that require critical medical services.

To achieve these goals, the group will be focusing on and making recommendations related to:

  • Finance and Investment: Health facilities and community members cannot afford renewable energy systems, so affordable energy solutions need to be identified and the creative solutions to overcome financial hurdles to cover the long-term costs of ownership need to be created.
  • Advocacy and Awareness Campaigns: Energy poverty is not on the health field’s agenda, so a robust and thorough advocacy and education campaign should be implemented.
  • Capacity Building, Education and Training related to Renewables: Health providers should receive training in the operation and routine maintenance of renewable energy systems, and programs to build local technical capacity to provide additional systems support and servicing should be created.
  • Standards and Technology: Technical standards for renewable energy systems need to be established to ensure systems are long-lasting, low-maintenance and robust in providing the energy needed to power health facilities.

It’s an honor to be a part of this group, and I look forward to working with everyone to discuss, explore and develop solutions that can have a real impact on the communities we operate in.

SELF is very excited to be involved in the U.N. “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative, both as an advocate as well as in terms of our role in designing and implementing cost-effective energy solutions that can serve as replicable models for governments, corporations, development agencies, and NGOs around the world that have committed to the goal of achieving universal energy access by the year 2030.

Stay tuned for subsequent developments!

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