From the bottom up: the role and place of community led approaches in national energy planning in West Africa

As the world moves towards 2030, the deadline of the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Initiative, it is important to review the achievements of the past few years and readjust our path to meet the goal. For this reason, Practical Action together with the Smart Villages Initiative held a one-day regional workshop on rural energy access planning on 20 February 2017 at Hotel Sarakawa in Lomé, Togo.

The workshop was coupled with the West Africa launch of the 2016 Poor People’s Energy Outlook (PPEO 2016) and was attended by around 50 participants, including policymakers, academia, representatives of the private sector, rural communities’ leaders, media, and civil society. The objective of the workshop was to analyse the potential for community-based approaches to strengthen national energy planning processes in West Africa.

Specifically, the workshop aimed to:

  • Share experiences of energy planning processes within the ECOWAS region
  • Highlight the importance of planning processes to meet rural energy needs
  • Identify the main opportunities and constraints related to planning to meet rural energy needs
  • Share findings and lessons learned from a study of energy needs and opportunities in 12 rural communities in Togo, Kenya, and Bangladesh (PPEO 2016)
  • Identify key constraints and opportunities for using community-based approaches and the
    implications for energy planning processes in West Africa
  • Formulate recommendations to strengthen energy planning processes to meet SE4ALL
    objectives in rural areas of West Africa

Workshop Programme

08:30 - 09:00Arrival and registration
(Coffee will be available)
09:00 - 09:30Opening session

Welcome and introduction: workshop objectives and programme

Formal opening speech: Togo’s Minister of Energy and Mines (or representative)
09:30 - 10:00Group photo and departure of official delegation
10:00 - 12:30Session A: Planning to achieve Sustainable Energy for All
10:00 - 10:15Presentation A.1 (20 min): Regional and national energy planning processes in the ECOWAS region in the context of SEforALL. (Presenter: Heleno Sanches, ECREEE)
10:15 - 10:45 Presentation A.2 (20 min): Planning to meet rural energy needs, why is it important? Case studies focussing on importance of local needs assessment, productive use and nexus issues. (Presenter: Smart Villages Initiative)
10:45 - 11:00 Q & A session
11:00 - 12:00 Group work: Planning to achieve sustainable energy for all in West Africa: what are the main opportunities and constraints for planning to meet rural energy needs in particular?
12:00 - 12:30 Session A: Round up and report back from group work (poster presentation)
12:30 - 14:00 Lunch and networking opportunity
14:00 - 16:00Session B: Planning to meet rural energy needs in practice
14:00 - 14:15Presentation B.1 (15 min): Rural energy needs in Togo: what is the current situation? What are the main unmet rural needs for energy services? (Presenter: tbc)
14:15 -14:45 Presentation B.2 (30 min): Rural Peoples Energy Outlook—Togo: key findings from research carried out by Practical Action
- (10 min): Introduction to research aims, localities, process and tools (Presenter: PAC West Africa)
- (10 min) Voices from rural Togolese communities on energy needs and opportunities (Presenters: community representatives)
- (10 min) Key findings from research in four Togolese communities (Presenter: PAC West Africa)
14:45 - 15:00 Q&A Session
15:00 - 15:45 Guided discussion in plenary (45 min)
- What are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to using community based approaches to strengthen national energy planning processes in West Africa?
- What are the implications for energy planning in West Africa to achieve sustainable energy for all and the Sustainable Development Goals in rural areas?
- What are the next steps needed to ensure West Africa achieves sustainable energy for all in rural areas of West Africa by 2030?
15:45 - 16:00Session B: Round up and reporting on key points captured by reporters
16:00 - 16:15 Launch of Poor People Energy Outlook 2016:
A short presentation and formal launch of this publication
16:15 - 16:30Closing remarks
16:30 - 18:30 Cocktail reception and energy market place

Participants and other energy service providers will have space to showcase their solutions for meeting rural needs for domestic, productive and community energy services
18:30 Workshop closure

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