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Young Leaders in Energy Access

Young Leaders in Energy Access




22 March, 2017


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Achieving universal energy access in Africa remains a significant challenge, and one that must be met in a sustainable manner in order to ensure a secure and renewable energy future for the continent. In light of this challenge, youth have risen to the forefront as advocates and innovators in bringing sustainable energy solutions to their homes, communities, regions and even countries. To raise awareness and honour the invaluable work and commitment of young people to this cause, the AEEP’s work stream on Energy Access released a call for proposals of young advocates, public sector workers, or social entrepreneurs to tell us how they improve energy access in Africa. Six Young Leaders were chosen as winners and were invited to the ARE Energy Access Investment Forum on 22 to 23 March in Lisbon, Portugal to receive the award from high-level ‘leaders of today’. Additionally, the Young Leaders in Energy Access presented a communiqué with recommendations to high-level representatives in the energy sector.

Meet the Young Leaders in Energy Access:

Abdirahman Abdilahi:  based in Somaliland, Abdirahaman works as an Energy Technical Advisor for the Ministry of Energy and Minerals. He advises on power and energy technical concepts and the national energy strategy and development plan. His passion to bring energy access to rural areas has influenced him to take a very hands-on approach to help project developers in on-the-ground project implementation. In his short time with the Ministry, he has helped to install hybrid mini-grids to 10,000 new customers in Somaliland.

Abdirahman also aims to share his knowledge by working at the Sheikh Secondary School and has organised workshops for the University of Hargeisa and Utility Engineers & Managers on the topic of rural electrification. These achievements and his research background in the field of sustainable and low carbon power systems convinced the AEEP’s Energy Access work stream members to award him as a Young Leader in Energy Access.

Astria Fataki: French with Congolese origins, Astria has dedicated her career to increasing renewable energy generation and energy access in Africa. She coordinated Public-Private Partnership projects for construction and operation of solar power plants and founded her own Infrastructure and PPP consulting firm in 2015. Furthermore, she is the founder and leader of the NGO Energy Generation, which aims to promote and encourage electrification solutions in Western Africa.

Astria’s work has made it possible for Energy Generation to be present in 24 African countries through a network of ambassadors. Her work extends to the Energy Generation Academy, which invites African students for one-year intensive trainings on renewable energy. Her outstanding commitment to bring energy access to rural communities and her work for Africa’s youth were key for the decision of AEEP’s Energy Access work stream members’ to award her as a Young Leader in Energy Access.

Simon Kiragu: Simon is the Kenyan Project Officer of wPowerHub, an organisation that trains, mentors and empowers more than 8,000 female clean energy entrepreneurs. His work brought energy access and clean technologies to 3.5 million households, improving their livelihoods considerably.

Previously, Simon worked as Regional Coordinator for the UN Initiative Developing Energy Enterprises Project, which provided over 4 million people with access to energy products and services, as well as for Barefoot Power and IT Power in the field of clean energy and energy technology. Simon’s dedication in his career to bring energy access to rural households, and engage women in the clean energy markets are recognised as outstanding, and thus he has been awarded as a Young Leader in Energy Access.

Dina Ramaromandray: Dina is our Young Leader in Energy Access from Madagascar, where she works for the Ministry of Energy and Hydrocarbons. She is in charge of the legal and regulatory frameworks for the Ministry, hence playing a fundamental role in enabling energy access for Madagascans. A large part of her work is dedicated to implementing the New Energy Policy of Madagascar, which aims to give access to modern and clean energy to all Malagasy people.

Besides her government work, Dina co-founded the “Malagasy Youth Against Climate Change” movement. This movement aims to provide a gathering place for young Malagasy people who want to tackle climate change via sustainable energy.

Due to these achievements and Dina’s commitment to provide energy access to the people of her country in a sustainable manner, the AEEP’s Energy Access work stream members decided to award her as a Young Leader in Energy Access.

Sayouba Guira: Sayouba from Burkina Faso is the Director of Nafa Naana, a social business aiming to replace traditional cooking stoves and kerosene lamps with clean cooking stoves and solar lamps. The main target group of Nafa Naana is women. With his work, Sayouba and Nafa Naana save 45 people every day from dying of indoor pollution, help to reduce deforestation and spread sustainable energy.

In addition to his social enterprise, Sayouba provides training for youth in his role as president of the student organisation AIESEC Burkina Faso. There, he has held various seminars including a National Leadership Development Seminar for youth organisation leaders from Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and other West African countries.

Given his high level of commitment to provide clean energy access, and empowering youth to become leaders in their own communities, the AEEP’s Energy Access work stream members decided to award Sayouba as a Young Leader in Energy Access.

Marta Pascual Santodomingo: Marta has done considerable work in bringing energy in the form of mini-grids to rural communities in Chad. Through her work she has promoted the productive use of renewable energy and empowered local communities by incorporating them strongly in the management of mini-grid design, installation, operation and management. Besides, Marta has worked as a project manager in rural electrification projects in Ghana and Guinea Bissau.

With her work, Marta has demonstrated a strong commitment to the SEforAll objective of bringing clean and affordable energy to people around the world, and ensuring community empowerment and engagement in their electrification. It is for these reasons the AEEP’s Energy Access work stream members were delighted to award her as a Young Leader in Energy Access.

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