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Acción contra el Hambre and acciona.org join forces to promote renewable energies in emergency contexts


Gatwal Nhial, 9, repairs a solar panel which is their only source of power on his floating grass island in what used to be Wangkotha Village. Africa, Central Africa, South Sudan. ©Peter Caton for Action Against Hunger 

Action Against Hunger and the acciona.org Foundation have launched an innovative initiative aimed at improving the sustainability of humanitarian operations through a more efficient assessment of the energy needs that arise during these operations, and the incorporation of renewable solutions that make it possible to offer affordable, reliable, modern, and sustainable energy. The project, which is financially supported by the European Union, will run for two years between Spain and the Philippines.

Renewable energies, a solid alternative 

In humanitarian crisis situations that require an emergency response (famine, natural disasters, conflicts), it is necessary to provide energy both to the aid operations deployed on the ground and to the people and communities to whom the aid is provided. However, due to the very nature of these crisis situations, the electricity supply is often covered through autonomous solutions based on fossil fuels, which generates a negative impact on the environment, in addition to the uncertainty caused by the volatility of fuel prices and the risk of lack of supply.

Against this backdrop, the initiative presented today aims to develop innovative solutions to help humanitarian actors integrate renewable energy into emergency responses. To this end, two standardized and easy-to-use tools will be developed to first assess the specific energy needs of each type of intervention, including the needs of the affected population, and then facilitate decision-making for energy provision, incorporating all the possibilities that renewable energies offer. 

The process includes an initial phase of development and testing of the tools and a specific piloting phase in a real emergency, for which the Philippines has been chosen. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), an average of 22 tropical cyclones hit the area every year, of which at least a quarter cause severe damage. Both Action Against Hunger and acciona.org have well-established teams in the Philippines, which also has a humanitarian coordination structure comprising numerous UN agencies and specialized NGOs, which will facilitate the use and evaluation of the tools in a real context. 

As a final phase of the process, numerous training and dissemination activities will be carried out to raise awareness of the tools among humanitarian actors and facilitate their appropriation. The participation of selected humanitarian actors in all phases of the process will ensure the real utility of the tools developed.

Partnerships for innovation

During the launch of this initiative, which took place today and was attended by the Research and Innovation team of Action Against Hunger, the Energy area of acciona.org and the teams of both organizations in the Philippines, the main lines of the process to be developed were presented, as well as the expected results.

Amador Gómez, Director of Research, Development and Innovation at Action Against Hunger, highlighted the innovative nature of this initiative. "Energy is not fully integrated into the planning of humanitarian programs. We can improve our results and support crisis-affected communities by improving energy practices. It is time to pay more attention to access to clean energy sources in humanitarian contexts. On the ground, many practitioners lack the time or skills to address an issue as complex as energy."

Cristina Ruiz, manager of the Energy area of the acciona.org Foundation, stressed the importance of this collaboration: "This project is another step forward for acciona.org in the development of innovative service provision models adapted to each context, on this occasion, the energy supply in the response to humanitarian emergencies. The technological solutions, which will be adapted to the needs detected, and the multi-actor management of the project, with the execution in alliance with Action Against Hunger and the involvement of other collaborating organizations, reinforce our differentiating model of action".


If you are interested in participating in this initiative providing feedback into the conceptual design of the tool and testing the prototype, please fill this contact form.



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