The Hivos Southern Africa partners under the Green and Inclusive Energy (GIE) project in Malawi met to map out how to consolidate and strengthen the consortium.
The partners, including Community Energy Malawi, Renewable Malawi, National Association of Business Women (NABW), Malawi Health Equity Network (MEHEN), and Youth Network and Counselling (YONECO) shared their plans of action.
Through presentations and group discussions, the partners shared their ideas under specific areas of work and explored how their work can be supported and replicated. Over the course of the discussions, participants identified other initiatives that offer potential for success.
The aim of the meeting was to help build a common understanding, and harness the knowledge on energy among the partners. Representatives from the partner organisations were provided an opportunity to pitch their plans of action as part of building a multi-faceted and creative alliances.
The Strategic Partnership on GIE is a joint initiative of Hivos, ENERGIA and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for five years starting in 2016. It aims at strengthening civil society organisations in low and middle-income countries to lobby effectively for making energy systems more green and inclusive. It is based on the assumption that strong civil society organisations make it easier to hear citizens’ voices.
The lobby and advocacy has two main prongs: 1) speeding up the transition to green, decentralised energy systems; and 2) making energy systems more inclusive.
“A critical component of the partnership building process in Malawi was to conduct a comprehensive mapping exercise of the CSOs’ priorities and then align them to avoid duplication and enhance joint programming,” said Yamungu Botha, Hivos Southern Africa’s Project Officer on Energy.
During the meeting the partners agreed to develop a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to manage and guide the collaboration.
Civil society in Malawi is a powerful force in shaping and building the renewable energy agenda of the country and a major constituent in setting a new development path.
“Efforts to achieve green and inclusive energy access in Malawi must be locally driven, cost-effective, and must foster innovation and replication. It was important for the consortium to undergo this exercise so that we pursue the lobby and advocacy with a common vision,” said Reginald Mapfumo, Hivos Southern Africa Project Manager on Energy.
A main output of the workshop was an integrated action plan that will facilitate the partners to collaborate, share knowledge, practices and skills as well as speak with one voice.
The collaborative exchange provided an opportunity for peer-to-peer learning and encouraged low-cost but high-impact exchanges of knowledge and experience amongst the GIE partners in Malawi.
A document outlining the principles of the partnership and a communication strategy will be developed and shared among the partners to strengthen the collaboration.