Project RISE presents central research findings at a stakeholder workshop in Lusaka, Zambia
Project RISE held its first interactive stakeholder workshop themed "Renewable, Innovative and Scalable Electrification (RISE) in Zambia: Challenges and Opportunities" on November 5th 2019 in Lusaka. Over 40 participants from the public, private and academic sectors including four traditional leaders (Chiefs) and representatives from local communities actively engaged in a discussion of the research project's research findings and the next steps to be taken to enhance access to clean energy in rural Zambia. Key objectives of the workshop were the launch of the Practitioners Report Electricity for Integrated Rural Development and the presentations of the research findings from all workstreams which were supported by keynote addresses from community members, NGOs, the private sector the Ministry of Energy as well as DFID. The presentations are available online via Dropbox.
A central aspect discussed during the workshop has been the increased inclusion of local stakeholders in the national energy decision-making process. The research findings of Project 'RISE' indicate a gap involvement of community representatives in national decision-making processes and that such participation is vital for the development of policy approaches that fit the complex needs of rural communities. As a result of the discussion, the representatives from the Ministry of Energy and the traditional leaders agreed to commence an exchange through the House of Chiefs Zambia. Secondly, as a potential step forward the enhancement of energy access in rural Zambia, the options of interlinking renewable energy SMEs with rural communities have been discussed to facilitate local project development and enhance capacity building on the community level. As a next step, project RISE aims to support these discussions by developing accessible information on renewable energy solutions which are tailored to the needs of rural communities in cooperation with traditional leaders and local rural communities. Thirdly, findings from the institutional workstream of the project indicate the need for enhanced energy policy-making and integrated energy planning processes guided by the principles of good governance. Representatives of the Ministry of Energy, as well as the Energy Committee from the Zambian Parliament positively responded to these findings, and the researchers of project RISE are optimistic about being consulted in the ongoing processes of reviewing the national energy policy by these stakeholders.