Energy & Infrastructure
MP promotes the development of micro-utilities building upon the successful experience of the “SharedSolar” pilot project currently being carried out in the Sahel and on renewable energy strategy using biomass.
From the simple task of charging a cell phone to powering clinics, computer labs and small townships, improving the quality and quantity of energy is vital to boosting incomes, agricultural production, health, environment and education in the most remote areas of the world. Improving access to water and energy, however, remains one of the biggest obstacles to development because of the large investments needed to have an impact at scale.
At the start of the Millennium Villages Projects, most public institutions lacked grid electricity connections, and household connections were virtually non-existent. Almost all cooking in homes and schools used fuel wood in traditional three-stone fires, which are both inefficient and unhealthy. The Millennium Villages Project, in partnership with government, private partners and local communities, have shown major gains in extending the electrical grid, increasing access to off-grid electricity and improving energy for cooking.
Innovative projects include the implementation of “shared solar” projects, which use a mobile credit system to pay for household and storefront energy use, and a partnership with JM Eagle, the world’s largest PVC pipe manufacturer, to bring safer water to more than 120,000 people. The Project also introduced more energy efficient cookstoves, which free women and children from the time-consuming task of collecting wood for fuel. This innovation also reduces environmental impacts from traditional cookstoves, which emit three to four tons of carbon equivalents per year.
Investment in health, education, environment, agriculture energy, roads, information and communications technology (ICT), and water infrastructure is crucial to achieving the SDGs. The scarcity and generally poor condition of infrastructure in the Millennium Villages at the start of the Project was representative of sub-Saharan Africa and other areas of extreme poverty. The broad objective of the MP’s Infrastructure and Innovation sector is to increase the number of people with access to modern energy, transportation, communication services, and water and sanitation.
Activities in infrastructure development include the construction and rehabilitation of existing road networks, schools, health, sanitation and hygiene facilities, establishment of on-grid and off-grid electricity solutions, internet connectivity, irrigation systems, community centers, radio stations etc.