Anthony Kamara, Jnr: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 July 2021:
The Energy Nexus Network (TENN), a regional energy ecosystem hub in Sierra Leone and SELCO Foundation, an Indian NGO have formed a strategic partnership to combine their expertise and build innovative sustainable energy delivery models for the rural population in Sierra Leone.
Access to energy in Sierra Leone is a major developmental barrier in the country with limited on-grid electricity access and grid extension particularly in sparsely populated and remote areas of the country.
To reduce vulnerability and bring long term socio-economic benefits to the underserved rural populations, both organizations have noted that decentralized clean energy solutions designed with innovative technological, financial, and business models would be a big help.
SELCO has set-up the Global SDG7 Hubs as a practitioner-driven, knowledge exchange and implementation platform to improve development outcomes globally using sustainable energy as a critical catalyst. TENN has similarly built an energy platform in Sierra Leone to strengthen inter-sector linkages and partnerships between energy and key sustainable development themes such as poverty alleviation, health, food security, education, water supply, climate change and the environment.
“SELCO is keen to leverage its success and failures in India over the years to ensure young practitioners working on SDG 7 have a solid foundation which is rooted in practitioner-driven thought processes, noted Huda Jaffer, Director of SELCO Foundation. “Creation of the Global SDG7 Hubs is our effort in this direction. We see our partnership with TENN as a strong long-term collaboration to achieve critical SDGs for Sierra Leone via SDG 7.”
Dr. Paul T. Yillia, TENN’s Technical Advisor said: “we are hopeful that the strategic partnership with SELCO Foundation through the Global SDG7 Hubs will provide a blueprint for scaling up and replicating innovative sustainable energy delivery models for rural populations in Sierra Leone and the subregion.”
On TENN’s role in supporting the achievement of the SDGs in Sierra Leone, Dr. Yillia further noted that “energy is our main entry point for key sustainable development objectives like improving livelihoods and wellbeing through healthcare, fisheries, livestock and agri-value chain.” TENN’s intervention seeks to understand the enabling conditions necessary for scaling and replicating renewable energy solutions that are more cost effective.
“TENN’s approach offer the SELCO Foundation immense scope for cross learning, whether in the form of challenges faced by the rural populations or the ecosystem,” underscored Jaffer. “It is with this conviction that we partner with TENN to build local capacity for innovation and replication of sustainable energy innovations in Sierra Leone.”
Over the next few years, this synergized partnership will focus on designing multiple programs around innovation and incubation in Sierra Leone starting with Kambia District, each of which will aim to further the network of grassroots level regional energy champions.
Both Yillia and Jaffer agreed there is immense potential to use clean energy to improve rural Healthcare and introduce productive the use of energy technologies within the agriculture, fisheries, and livestock sectors to improve rural livelihoods in Sierra Leone.
The program has begun with focusing on building SDG7 models in livelihood and health within Kambia District through the BREAD for Life program (Building Resilient Ecosystems Around Decentralized Renewable Energy in Sierra Leone) and is supported by global partners like Good Energies Foundation and DOEN Foundation.