At the time of launching the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative in 2011, the UN Secretary-General remarked that ‘energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, social equity, and environmental sustainability’. Modern energy access is now increasingly recognised by the UN and other global agencies as absolutely vital to development. In Malawi, however, only 9% of the population has access to electricity.
To help boost energy access in Malawi, the Scottish Government funded the £2.3m Malawi Renewable Energy Acceleration Programme (MREAP) from 2012-15. This flagship programme is the single biggest Scottish Government-funded international development project to date.
MREAP, led by Strathclyde University, has worked to empower disadvantaged communities to address their own energy needs and develop their own renewable energy projects, providing access to more reliable electricity for rural towns and villages. By providing research technology, collaboration, educational and training support and entrepreneurship, Strathclyde University has worked with the people of Malawi to develop their renewable energy capabilities and climate change policies, putting Malawi on the path to ‘green growth’.
The hallmark of the MREAP community energy approach has been in giving full responsibility for the choice of technology and application, as well as the management of the projects to the communities, supported by development officers who facilitated this process over a number of months.
The Scottish Government is keen to share the findings from this world-leading programme, and we are pleased to be able to share a series of 16 reports from the programme are now available here.