Globally, close to a billion people live without electricity. In 2016, 2.8 billion people still relied on low quality biomass, coal and kerosene for cooking. Cooking with biomass has a negative effect on more people than AIDS and malaria combined. Modern sustainable energy technology is crucial to human well-being and a prerequisite for economic development.

Taking a market-based approach, SNV works with public and private partners to develop energy markets for bio-digesters, clean cooking and off-grid electricity. In the four years 2019 to 2022, we will significantly contribute to systems change in eight countries by kick-starting sustainable energy markets. Clean cookstoves and bio-digesters reduce indoor air pollution and related health hazards, decrease carbon emissions and help households, in particular women, save time and money. Bio-slurry generated from digesters is a potent organic fertiliser and is often referred to as ‘brown gold’. Powered by solar and other renewable energy, our projects will offer households, businesses and institutions off-grid electricity.

Our programme focuses on energising rural households and small businesses. We will expand our work in informal refugee settlements. SNV will enhance its work on the productive use of energy in selected agricultural value chains, including through mini-grids, for example for solar pumps for irrigation, cooling for storing milk or other perishables, and processing purposes.

Targets for energy 2019–2022

  • 1.9 million people with access to off-grid solar
  • 2.5 million people with access to improved cookstoves
  • 585,000 people with access to bio-digesters

Sustainable energy markets

Our work on biogas markets applies our decades-long expertise to specific local market conditions. We have also established a track record in introducing improved cookstoves and off-grid electricity solutions. Our approach is anchored in market research. Based on our local know-how and as appropriate, we combine demand creation, technical and business advice for entrepreneurs, incentives to distribute quality products, support to government agencies to run market-based energy programmes and advice to improve enabling environments. We offer early-stage grants and results-based financing to help de-risk commercial investments and incentivise companies to engage in underserved areas. Alongside, we advocate for more funding for decentralised energy services, for the removal of regulatory barriers to make the energy sector more attractive to business investors and for national quality standards.

Opportunities for Youth Employment (OYE)

In this strategy period we will scale up our work on creating job opportunities for young people across agriculture, energy and WASH. Our opportunity for youth employment (OYE) approach includes creating employment opportunities (pull), basic skills training (push), and market placement and enterprise development (match). We help young people to find jobs by getting our network of companies in agriculture, energy and WASH interested in offering vocational training and on-the-job learning, and offering concrete employment opportunities. We will also help young people to fulfill their entrepreneurial aspirations by developing their skills and knowledge through training, facilitating access to money to set themselves up, and by coaching them in leadership and business skills.

Climate and business

Our projects on climate and business cut across agriculture and energy. We are growing our work on climate-smart agriculture through a number of transformational projects that could make a large-scale impact. We bring together value-chain actors – authorities, research partners and investors from the private and public sectors – to speed up the adoption of proven, climate-smart agricultural practices and business solutions that address both adaptation and mitigation along value chains. We also incubate innovation to contribute to increasing the spectrum of measures to build climate resilience.

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