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1. RAISING AWARENESS ON POTENTIAL OF RENEWABLE ENERGY
This service focuses on active citizenship in tandem with SE4All and our mission of “helping communities generate sustainable energy solutions to meet their energy needs”. CEM aims at potentially developing grassroots advocacy on community led energy projects and their corresponding right to decide what best suits them. At the centre of this service is building capacity of communities and their extension workers to effectively utilize the CEM Tool Kit in planning, implementation, and monitoring community energy projects. We will also seek to build networks between communities and service providers e.g. installers, suppliers, consumer rights groups etc to ensure that only appropriate technologies are promoted. We will also introduce use of ICT on top of the current use of Newsletters for documentation and sharing information (success stories and approaches) as well as enhancing transparency and accountability.
Some notable achievements
USE OF MOBILE VANS AND ROAD SIDE MARKETING
Through a partnership with MAEVE under the Energising Development Project, we are conducting sensitisation campaigns in Solar PICO Products and Chitetezo Mbaula. In this way we are able to reach the masses with sensitisation message on recommended PV products and effective utilisation of cook stoves. Our officers stop on roadside markets even at night to do market solar pico products technology.
We organise excursions for communities by taking them to appreciate how other communities are managing Renewable Energy projects. Under CEDP 12 Communities from 12 Districts were taken to other communities to appreciate how Renewable Energy Technologies are managed and helping to change their lives.
TRAININGS ON HOW TO USE TOOLKIT
We also have a Toolkit for Renewable Energy Technologies for Malawi in both Chichewa and English which is distributed to communities and is available on this website to guide communities or organisations doing Renewable Energy Projects (provide link to tool kit). We do this by engaging with communities in a process of energy needs assessments/energy audits and making available to them a list of available renewable energy technologies with their advantages and disadvantages.
2.CAPACITY BUILDING IN RENEWABLE ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES
CEM Members of staff are available to support a member organisation or communities in preparation, planning and implementation, monitoring and evaluation of community renewable energy projects. We have expertise in Solar PV for Portable Water Pumping, Solar PV for lighting, Biogas, Small Wind Turbines, Solar and Hydro Mini Grids and Solar PV for Productive Uses We also have well researched literature for references on practicality of renewable energy technologies (see Library). We still maintain links with University of Strathclyde, Community Energy Scotland, IODPARC and Wind Empowerment as a repository of expertise which can be offered to organisations through
COMMUNITY PROJECT INDENTIFICATION, PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION
By working with 12 communities across 12 districts in Malawi under CEDP, we have mastered the art of working with communities to identify, plan and implement sustainable renewable energy projects that are responsive to people’s needs. We retain this skill to date and is available for the benefit of our members and communities. We also have a Toolkit on Renewable Energy for Malawi in Chichewa and English as a guide to projects implementation. We have aptly complemented on Government of Malawi efforts by filling the gap due to absence of District Level Energy Officers in line with decentralisation policy.
• CEM members of staff have developed expertise in Training Content Development and delivery having done this for the past since 2010.
• We have developed training materials relevant to community groups taking forward renewable energy projects in the following areas: Group Dynamics, Contractor/Community Relationships, installation supervision, Business Planning, Hands on Support to translate RE Projects into Business Plan , CBO Management -targeting CBO members. System use and maintenance, How to use RE Tool Kit.
• We are experienced in organising and conducting one day to 5 day trainings on various subjects relating to Community Energy
COMMUNITY ENERGY PLANING
At the core of this activity is to entrench Community Energy Planning within the recognised decentralisation structures of Village Action Planning (VAP), Area Development Planning (ADP) and District Development Planning (DDP) in line with the Malawi Decentralisation Policy. We therefore work with local authorities and relevant national government agencies to legitimise and gain support for local energy initiatives through the local structures. It is also advocacy in nature because it helps authorities to appreciate communities’ aspirations in energy and develop appropriate strategies for working with community groups.
3.NETWORK OF ORGANISATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS IN RENEWABLE ENERGY
We seek to build a mutually supportive network of energy players in Malawi. Technology innovators, users and funders must be networked for the maximum exploitation of our energy potential in Malawi.
COMMUNITY ENERGY EVENTS
We organise networking events where players can meet , get to know each other, discuss the opportunities and challenges in the sector. Among others we organise, events at National Level like National Community Energy Conferences, Symposiums and Networking Lunches. At Direct or Local level we organise what we call District Learning Links where CBOs and NGOs in a particular districts interfaces with the District Authorities and other players to learn from each other what and how they are implementing renewable energy projects.
Through our online CEM Directory, we are able to increase the profile of our members and increase their chances of networking with local and international partners.
PARTICIPATION IN OTHER NETWORKS
CEM as a representative organisation also joins and participates in both local and international networking activities. We for example are part of the CSO Coordination Network for SE4ALL and are also members of international networks like Energy Practitioners Network, International Renewable Energy Agency.
4.LOBBYING AND ADVOCACY
CEM realises that access to energy is not just a matter of installation of improved forms of energy like electricity but also increasing people’s capacity to engage actively in planning and implementation of projects. This entails thus, seeing local institutional development on energy within a broader democracy and governance agenda. This involves therefore working with governance structures and rights holders to recognize and mainstream energy in their planning.
In this regard, CEM will play a convening role through recruiting members as well as build coalitions and joining forces with other groups such as Renewable Energy Industry Association of Malawi and international networks such as Community Energy International. We strive to create an enabling environment by supporting identification of innovative ways and efforts to help marginalized and poor communities to also access modern forms of energy in ways that are viable and sustainable. We influence policy and practice to benefit those that most need the energy by building Social Enterprise Models and evidence of what works better. We aim to remain a more reliable partner for community on-going support ensuring such that we have staff and representation in all the regions of Malawi. CEM will take the lead in representing its constituency as well as building capacity of the members in evidence based lobbying and advocacy.
We shall endeavour to promote knowledge dissemination and mentoring of small organizations as well as strengthen their research capacity to document practical solutions We will build strategic partnerships for wider reach and depth of our strategy. This will include NGOs, the academia, research institutions and the private sector for knowledge generation of innovative technologies, scaling up and deepening of our activities.
Some of our notable strategies include:
ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP ENERGY
Communities should be able to recognize their energy poverty and be able to demand accountability and transparency of public service providers in the energy services provision. We are therefore cognizant of the need to facilitate positive engagement between communities and their duty bearers at District and National Level. In that regard we do organize District Learning Links and national events during which communities and their respective District Councils engage on energy issues. We are available to facilitate positive engagement.
NATIONAL ENERGY CONFERENCES
We are the flagship organisers of the National Community Energy Conference which brings together communities taking forward renewable energy projects with policy makers, academia, regulators, donors, installers and suppliers under one roof. We utilise such forum to network our various members as well as cement linkages between and among players.
5. FUNDRAISING AND FUNDING RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTS
Access to funding for renewable energy projects is difficult to come by for communities at the last mile. Through membership to CEM, organisations have the chance of accessing funding pots available at or through CEM.
12 CBOs in 12 Districts of Malawi have been able to access funding from Scottish Government through our wor under Community Energy Development Programme. We are now building evidence on viability or bankability of renewable energy projects through conduction of Market Assessments in 16 communities across Malawi in an effort to help CBOs in those areas to access funding for their projects. Through CEM members also have the chance of forging partnerships to improve chances of getting funding.
We also provide capacity building in development of renewable energy grants and business ideas. Members also get updates on funding links available and supported how to utilise them.