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NEWS:The Strategic Partnership Green and Inclusive Energy programme in Africa which will run from 2016-2020 recently launched with a conference held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe from 5-9 September, 2016.

Hivos Hubs in Southern Africa and East Africa together with the Global Office organized the five day kickoff meeting with partners to co-create and finalise a joint strategy and planning.

The conference brought together approximately 50 participants from East and Southern Africa. In Africa, the Hivos Southern Africa and East Africa hubs are implementing the Strategic Partnership on Green and Inclusive Energy programme and target countries for programme implementation include Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.

The programme nucleus is built on cooperation with and strengthening civil society at national level to be able to better lobby and advocate for green and inclusive policies and therefore capacity building becomes vital in the process.

CSOs ranged from traditionally energy and non-energy organizations known as nexus organisations under the programme that will work with the two hubs to achieve the programme objectives.

The participants went through training in Theory of Change, Outcome Harvesting, Communication and Gender and Social Inclusion. Participants further strengthened their national and regional TOCs both in their prescribed national groups and through formal and informal knowledge exchange with participants from other countries.

The background to the programme is that in January 2015, Hivos, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and Article 19 came together to form the Citizen Agency Consortium, a consortium which aims to strengthen civil society through capacity development of their lobby and advocacy skills.

The consortium is sponsored by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its Dialogue and Dissent programme, and by extension the Dutch embassies in the countries in which the consortium is active. There are four partnerships under the wider theme of Strategic Partnerships programme which will run from 2016-2020 and these include Sustainable Diets for All, Strategic Partnership – Energy, Open Contracting and Women at Work.

Access to clean, modern, sustainable energy is critical for improving the health and livelihoods of billions of people around the world. There is growing evidence linking socioeconomic benefits with access to a reliable and affordable supply of energy. The UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 focuses on a concerted global effort to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Hivos believes that access to energy can alleviate poverty, improve living conditions and propel economic development.

As Hivos, we join forces with local organisations and entrepreneurs because we have seen that decentralised renewable energy systems, more reliant on small-scale generation from renewable energy sources, also allow consumers to become producers themselves, thus driving local economic development. Hivos supports NGOs in developing countries to increase the demand for (renewable) energy access in remote locations.

The Africa Strategic Partnership on Green Inclusive Energy will have a strong focus on lobby and advocacy that seeks to influence ‘citizen agency’ and public debate to help push the transition from centralised energy production based on fossil fuels towards more decentralised energy systems in which citizens take central stage.