Submitted by: Practical Action (Zimbabwe)
Implemented country: Zimbabwe
Title: Fighting Poverty by Gaining Access to Energy
The majority of the population in south-east Africa continues to be highly dependent on traditional power sources. This lack of access to energy is a doom loop, especially for poorer areas where people suffer from bad health, low productivity, and scarcity of food. The main cause of uncertain energy supply in south-east Africa is a lack of cooperation between centralized national energy planners and local development planners. Lasten Mika and his Practical Action organization are trying to counteract this situation. Lasten has a degree in electrical engineering and renewable energies and does research in the fields of energy and the environment. He has already implemented several electrical installation projects involving the development of energy supply, and much more.
Practical Action is a charity organization, and Lasten is team leader of Access to Energy project. The 3-year-objective was to implement Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The Millennium Development Goals contains eight goals for 2015 which were defined in 2000 by a task group made up of representatives from the U.N., the World Bank, OECD, and several NGOs. The eight topics are: Fighting poverty and hunger; primary school education; gender equality, reducing child mortality; improving health care; fighting HIV; ecological sustainability, and building a global partnership for development.
Lasten‘s project is aimed at increasing the capacities of local grassroots communities in order to make access to energy part of the general development planning. Overarching cooperation between the energy sector and often local service providers in different sectors such as health, agriculture, and the environment have been strengthened through the Millennium Development Goals. Tools were developed that combine energy planning with fighting poverty. This process is influencing planning and development on local, district and national levels, thus paving the way for first steps towards better energy access for the local population.
Lasten Mika’s main efforts lay in creating more awareness among the villagers and the rural population. The fact that this project even exists has influenced national energy politics, and Practical Action has begun to closely work together with the Rural Energy Agency (REA) in Zimbabwe. The Agency has now been commissioned by the government to improve the rural energy situation.
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