Practical Action has been working for over three decades to get sustainable energy solutions to those who need them most. Whilst we have developed expertise in delivering the services that poor people need, want and have a right to, we recognise that our work alone is not enough to reach the billions who still currently have no access to clean, safe, modern and affordable energy. We are therefore keen to work in partnership and collaboration with others, and within various frameworks, to achieve this end.
United Nations Sustainable Energy for All initiative
Recognition of the fundamental role of energy in development has increased dramatically in recent years, and the UN's Sustainable Energy for All initiative (SEforAll) has been a key driving force in elevating the status of energy access globally.
SEforAll has the potential to deliver sustainable energy solutions at scale and has three primary goals of, by 2030:
- achieving universal energy access
- doubling the annual rate of energy efficiency
- doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix
Since SEforAll's inception in 2012, it has been widely understood that, for these primary goals to be achieved, three groups need to work together: government, the private sector and civil society. This multi-stakeholder approach has been supported by Practical Action from the very beginning.
Practical Action and SEforAll
We have worked with the SEforAll initiative from the very beginning; we currently participate on the Energy Access Committee, and have served on the SEforAll Forum's steering committees in both 2014 and 2015. We are working closely with the initiative in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Nepal and Rwanda; and, more recently, Nigeria and Sierra Leone through our involvement in Power for All.
What else are we doing?
Promoting Total Energy Access
Total Energy Access (TEA) is Practical Action's framework for understanding what energy access means, and the energy services required by households, businesses and community facilities. We have used our first-hand experience of working with poor communities to devise tools that will assist governments, NGOs and international communities to understand these requirements.
The Poor People's Energy Outlook
The Poor People’s Energy Outlook (PPEO) series pays special attention to the energy needed for households, livelihoods and community services, and proposes a framework for action along with indicators that can be used to measure country specific progress. The 2016 edition of the PPEO looks at operationalising the TEA framework in national energy access planning, while the PPEO 2017 will explore how to finance these plans, followed by the 2018 edition which focusses on systemic and programmatic delivery of energy access at scale.
The Poor People's Energy Briefing Series
The Poor People's Energy Briefing Series complements the PPEO as a vehicle to share new evidence and learning. It aims to be thought-provoking and to challenge the business-as-usual approach to energy access debates. The series is also a space for collaboration with energy access practitioners and policymakers, and seeks to inform how we can deliver on global, regional, and national energy access commitments by 2030.
Working with fellow civil society organisations
The SEforAll goals will only be achieved with the participation of civil society organisations. Civil society's long-standing and invaluable experience of delivering vital energy services to those beyond the reach of national grids, and our ability to connect and represent the needs and experiences of poor communities, must be valued and integrated into the process. Recognising this, Practical Action is a founding member of the ACCESS coalition which strengthens the voice of civil society in initiatives such as SEforAll.
Practical Action has also worked with a number of development and research organisations (including CAFOD, Christian Aid, HEDON, IIED, IESR) to broaden our reach and amplify our messaging. We have collaborated around energy access and climate change issues advocating for, among others: additional investment in decentralised energy services by DFID, EU and the multi-lateral development banks (MDBs); greater understanding of, and buy-in to, participatory design and delivery of energy services; and a more meaningful, demand-focussed definition of energy access. Most recently we worked with ODI, GOGLA and SolarAid, on a comprehensive report on off-grid solar markets in Africa, a piece of work which underlies DFID's Energy Africa campaign.