WR24: West Africa Dialogue for Media Professionals

Workshop Report

As an integral part of that activity, the Smart Villages Initiative aims to raise public awareness
of rural energy access issues, sustainable energy technologies, and entrepreneurial approaches to energy in the developing world. To help meet this goal, we seek to promote objective, informed, and balanced coverage of the issues, challenges, and opportunities through media dialogue events for both regional and international media. In this way, we hope the main stakeholders— including policy makers, funders, entrepreneurs, civil society, and the general public, including potential smart villagers themselves—can be made aware of the potential of off-grid rural energy provision. We also provide them with appropriate information to permit informed discussion of the issue. We are targeting high-profile international media outlets as well as the leading media organisations in countries where rural energy access is important.

By holding these regional media dialogue events, we hope to gain insights from local journalists
as well as introducing or updating them with some of the latest technological innovations in
the area, together with the regulatory, finance and entrepreneurship/ business challenges and
opportunities that apply in their region. In this manner, we hope to encourage a greater focus
on this complex area that involves technology, business, politics and rural development. Despite its importance in terms of the magnitude of the affected populations, rural energy access and its impact has hitherto not been a mainstream media priority.

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