100&Change: 2020

Mending Broken Lives Through Clean Energy Solutions

Provide affordable, equitable and sustainable access to energy services to 500,000+ individuals in refugee camps and proximate ‘educational-health- water’ facilities using local renewable resources.

DOWNLOAD: Project Factsheet
Two-page overview of proposal
Current Work Location
  • Garissa, Kenya
  • Northern Region, Uganda
Proposed Work Locations:
  • Somali Region, Ethiopia
  • Province du Nord-Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Rakhine State, Myanmar
Priority Populations:
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Homeless people
  • Extremely poor people
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
  • 7. Affordable and clean energy
  • 13. Climate action
Competition Participation
100&Change: 2020

Executive Summary:

Lack of access to energy feeds a vicious cycle of poverty. Accelerated deployment of clean distributed energy solutions, on massive scale, to reach the billion+ with no access, is our ambition. Our proposal brings hope to the “broken” lives of the dispossessed and the disenfranchised. At its core, we provide reliable energy services to touch half a million lives at refugee camps in Eastern Africa. ‘Off-grid’ energy solutions will deliver clean, renewable energy for electricity, clean water, sanitation, cooking and support to educational and health facilities. Our comprehensive technical plan combines reliable support of energy with community self-sufficiency and self-determination. Income for livelihood, skills development at all educational levels, learning through play and empowerment of women are all central aspects of our proposal to create a positive pathway out of humanitarian crises. Energy access is the first step: a launch pad for education and a path out of extreme poverty.

Organization Details
Lead Organization

University of Waterloo

website: https://wise.uwaterloo.ca/
Organization Headquarters
Ontario, Canada
Organization ID
Annual Operating Budget
$500 Million to $1 Billion
Number of Full-time Employees
> 1,000

Charity, fund, non-governmental organization, religious institution, school, or other entity

Challenge Statement

The dispossessed and the disenfranchised are most greatly impacted by lack of access to reliable and sustainable energy. By 2030, an estimated 640 million people will still not have even minimal access to clean, reliable energy, predominantly in Africa. More importantly, access to energy provided by many SDG7 initiatives in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are neither strong enough nor scalable enough to end extreme poverty globally. The world needs a new approach to providing energy access applied as a powerful tool of value creation for poor communities. We target to touch, at least 500,000 lives in refugee camps in East Africa, to illustrate our capacity for positive change, set the benchmark for innovations to drive economic empowerment and thus seed global scalability of clean energy solutions. Our approach covers electricity services (light, information, water pumping, e-mobility, health and education) and thermal energy for cooking. Influential ways to effect change: Create a global ‘extension service’ – a nudge - to support decision quality of investments in the energy access sector commensurate with advances of the knowledge base [#1, BoxF]. Transform the design of energy access initiatives from a “supply-side” issue to a simultaneous design of supply and use through inclusive energy planning. Enhance the social value of energy through integrated design practices for income generation (e.g. “earn-as-you-cook”) to create micro-enterprises and reduce environmental degradation. These strategies will build local capacity, empower the disenfranchised (the poor, the dispossessed, women and girls) and enhance the potential for successfully achieving the SDGs globally.

Solution Overview

Our solution provides energy services to the world’s poorest communities that go beyond minimal access to a higher level of reliable and sustainable energy services in ways that create income, reinforce social well-being and economic stability. The proposal will meet the energy needs of at least half a million people in refugee settlements in East Africa. The technology is an ‘off-grid’ distributed energy system that uses renewable energy sources with no reliance on fossil fuels with the capacity to integrate varying levels of local resources such as solar, wind, mini hydro, biomass and storage through micro grids (DC, AC or hybrid) featuring modular design, resiliency, robustness and ease of transport. For households, we will provide electricity services at the UN SE4ALL TIER 3 Level (200W power, 1kWh daily energy, minimum 8 hours per person per day). For the community, a Tier 4 Level of service can support schools (education at all levels, skills development, interactive learning through games for children), health clinics, water pumping, sanitation and e- mobility charging facilities. COOKING (non-electric) TLUD stoves provide “Earn-as -you-cook” empowerment for women as 'artisanal' creators of livelihood sustenance and development of ‘micro-enterprises. Conversion of biomass and agricultural waste as fuel for cooking into biochar for use as soil fertilizer and other useful products generates income and reduces the need for subsidies by humanitarian agencies. This is an environmentally sustainable ‘virtuous cycle’ that delivers income and climate mitigation in the same act.