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Partnership for Off-grid Communities and Women’s Access to Sustainable Energy Project (Project POWER)

The project aims to create planet-and gender-sensitive pathways to local development for poor, off-grid communities in Mindanao,Philippines

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The project will increase access to renewable energy to three of the provinces with the lowest level of electrification in the Philippines. Prioritization of areas will be based on scoping studies which look into the supply and demand for energy, capacities of the households to procure RE energy services, and scalable business models that deliver RE services to under-served communities.

The business model will include raising awareness on the benefits of renewable energy through village level community meetings, and the use of mass social media. By increasing awareness on RE solutions that work, the project will influence the uptake of RE in the remaining under-served, off-grid communities, build economies of scale to drive down the prices of RE products, and strengthen the transition of energy sources to renewable solutions.

One critical aspect of the business models is setting up community-run enterprises which will deliver electricity at the household levels. The project harnesses the potentials for women to lead these enterprises through developing their managerial and technical capabilities and linking them up with the energy supplier base. Integrating gender and energy issues can help reap benefits at multiple levels. Such integration contributes to achieving universal energy access, and, at the same time, also offers potential gains on economic development, improved basic service delivery, gender equality, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Access to modern energy also enables means of protection that alleviates the plight of many women and children in the Philippines.

The project anticipates that the changes in people’s mindset towards sustainable energy and changes in policies and programs will help deliver access to sustainable energy at scale which will support the Philippines climate adaptation, mitigation, as well as social development ambitions.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

The project sites selected for this project represented some of the most challenging places in the Philippines to do development work but they are the very same areas where Oxfam world could potentially make significant gains. Access to reliable uninterrupted supply of energy by Tawi-tawi, Maguindao, and Lanao del Sur residents are the lowest in the country with 22, 33, and 33 percent respectively. These are also the same areas where women’s opportunities remain visibly lacking due to socially and culturally circumscribed roles. Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur suffer from decades old conflicts which have caused intermittent and sometimes protracted displacements. Access to RE solutions afforded by this project is expected to restore normalcy and recovery after displacement and offers pathways to spur economic development in the areas.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

The idea integrates market-based solutions to societal and environmental problems. It takes into consideration financing options for low-income households to be able to afford access to renewable energy and at the same time works with private sector to influence affordability on the supply-side. This market-based approach to programming ensures sustainability and replicability.

It also tackles lack of access to energy with lens of social injustice and articulates solutions to environmental problems by inspiring communities to demand for planet-sensitive technologies. It also incorporates the influence of women in households to increase adoption of renewable energy and integrates on its design women economic empowerment.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Oxfam is a global confederation working with partners in over 90 countries to end the injustices that cause poverty. Oxfam has been present in the Philippines for almost three decades working on poverty alleviation and the promotion of policies, programs, and public spending that uplift the lives of people in poverty.

Our website URL is: https://philippines.oxfam.org/

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

In our continued efforts to raise the standard of living for our rural sector, we, through our collaboration with various stakeholders (e.g. community leaders, local government officials, agriculturists, fisheries expert), have come to identify access to energy as one of its key drivers. This knowledge, along with the awareness that the path to sustainable development is paved through environmentally-sensitive solutions, inspired us to look for funding for this initiative.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Prosperity in our proposed areas are influenced by political unrest, lack of energy access to spur possible local economic drivers. Economic opportunities for women are hindered by cultural and social norms. Climate change has also worsen poverty incidence in the area as drought and stronger and more frequent typhoons hurt rural productivity. At the national and local level,the discourse on maximising the use of natural resources while also making it still available for use in the future, is gaining momentum. However. adopting environmentally-sensitive pathway to development, (e.g. transitioning to renewable sources of energy) is still faced by logistical and financial constraints.
Products, technology and practices that are planet-friendly is (e.g. renewable energy, organic agriculture) is considered costly and

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Private Sector Producer and Distributor of Renewable Energy (Solar Philippines) and Online Payment Gateway (Pay Maya Philippines) have expressed interest to invest and collaborate for the proposed action. Communities and local government units in off-grid areas in Mindanao, where Oxfam has other ongoing projects, have long since expressed their desire to have access to affordable and renewable energy. Access to energy is anticipated to contribute to increasing rural productivity and in alleviating unpaid care work burden of women by being able to install energy-dependent time and labor saving devices.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

The target provinces and towns have receptive community leaders with whom Oxfam has established good rapport of fruitful collaborative relationships. Most notable are local women leaders who Oxfam have invested heavily with in building their capabilities. They will be supported by renewable energy industry leaders from the private sector who have built strong credentials in addressing energy issues domestically.

Geographic Focus

Provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur , Sulu, Tawi-tawi, and Basilan in Mindanao Philippines

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

It will be implemented in 36 months.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

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