Image: Community Energy Malawi’s rural mini-grid has boosted training opportunities in rural villages.
A new wave of innovation shows how clean energy can power up entrepreneurship and inclusive development across low-income nations, creating opportunities even in the most marginalised communities.
Exciting initiatives range from solar-powered hubs where refugees can launch businesses, to pay-per-use cold storage for smallholder farmers, to training programmes helping women launch clean energy companies and careers. These solutions feature in the shortlists for the three 2022 international Ashden Awards, announced today.
Shortlisted organisations include Kakuma Ventures, working with refugee camp residents in Kenya to set up solar-powered wi-fi hotspots, and Oorja Development Solutions in India helping tribal farmers swap polluting diesel generators for clean energy – cutting bills in half.
Ashden’s analysis of more than 148 award applicants reveals effective public-private collaboration; community ownership and involvement; and enabling access to markets and finance, as hallmarks of pioneering work.
Ashden CEO Harriet Lamb said: “Supercharging economies and raising incomes are just two of the many reasons for investing in energy access. But with 940 million people worldwide living without electricity, and 3 billion without safe cooking, it’s clear support for frontline innovators is falling short. A skills and training drought is one major obstacle to progress.
“A new global effort is urgently needed which is why we are calling for November’s COP27 climate talks in Egypt to focus on boosting energy access.
“Universal access to clean, affordable energy is fundamental to climate justice. Donors and policymakers should act now to get funds flowing to frontline solutions.”
This year, Ashden is also running three awards focused on climate innovation in the UK. Shortlisted organisations in all six categories will undergo a rigorous assessment with judging from Ashden and sector experts. The 2022 international Ashden Award winners will be announced in Nairobi in October.
Winners receive grants and business support – while all shortlisted organisations benefit from publicity and connection to investment and partnership opportunities.
Ashden Award for Energising Refugee Livelihoods, supported by Linbury Trust, the Alan & Babette Sainsbury Charitable Fund, JAC Trust, Ashden Trust and a public appeal.
Creating clean energy, internet connections and new jobs for refugee camp residents
Training refugee women in Turkey for a future as solar engineers
Solar-powered business hubs energise refugee entrepreneurs
Ashden Award for Energising Agriculture
Turning agricultural waste into electricity and clean cooking fuels and organic biofertilisers – the circular economy in action
Bringing pay-per-use irrigation, milling and cooling to farmers.
Sustainable cold storage for smallholders, matched with help getting products to market.
Collectives for Integrated Livelihood Initiatives
Community-led production hubs in India’s tribal areas.
Ashden Award for Energy Access Skills, supported by LinkedIn
Microfinance and micro business training for productive uses of energy helps communities earn more money, and helps rural energy companies be more financially sustainable through increased sales.
Community Energy Malawi
A rural mini-grid creates training opportunities for local people, backed by academic partners inside and outside the country.
Training in the solar sector for rural young people, through collaboration with colleges and NGOs, alongside connections to jobs.
A ground-breaking entrepreneurial training centre empowering entrepreneurs to create solutions for Africans by Africans – sparking opportunities for women.
Since launching in 2001, the annual Ashden Awards have boosted 245 outstanding organisations in the UK and around the world.