Designing models to deliver energy services for people living in poverty


Collecting water from the solar based purification system supplied by CAFOD, Chila Union, Mongla District, Bangladesh, 2012

As trailed in my previous blog on what COMPASS says about climate change impacts on our partners, we are today launching a paper outlining an approach to designing energy delivery models that work for people living in poverty.

See also today’s The Guardian’s Poverty Matters blog.

This paper is the first output of an ongoing collaboration between IIED and CAFOD that aims to understand better how energy services can be designed to work for people living in poverty so as to maximise their development benefits and ensure they operate sustainably over the long term.

To reiterate, the big picture here is that 1.3 billion people still have no electricity and 2.7 billion cook over open fires – including many of the communities CAFOD works with.  Increasing access to modern, safe, sustainable and affordable energy is a hot topic in the post-MDGs debate. This is a potential “win-win” for poor people and tree huggers, since to reach universal access, 55% of new electricity must come from decentralized sources – 90% of them renewable.

The CAFOD and IIED approach starts from the insight that people’s energy needs must be understood holistically, in relation to their broader development needs, and services must be tailored to their specific local context. It aims, firstly, build a holistic understanding of people’s energy needs and wants and the interests of other stakeholders and then to analyse the local context in which a service will operate. Socio-cultural factors, as well as the formal enabling environment, are a crucial to the success of any ‘energy delivery model’.

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2 Responses to “Designing models to deliver energy services for people living in poverty”

  1. vicki hird Says:

    this is fabulous. spot on and i hope it gains the momentum and publc support it needs and deserves. i was sad to see ‘tree huggers’ in there tho. the phrase is often used in derrogatory ways and i am sure you did not mean to- it somewhat belittled the scientific approach of the environmental movement. i hope i am not being unduly sensitive. good luck with this initiative.

  2. Ensuring an Energy Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) delivers for poor people and the planet | Serpents and Doves: A development policy blog Says:

    […] discussed previously, CAFOD with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is developing an […]

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