30 of September 2020

Casa do Gelo Project in Cape Verde

The Project was born out of a partnership of almost ten years between the Municipality of Porto Novo, AGRIPESCA and Águas de Ponta Preta, Associates of ALER, in which the parties over the years have worked on various projects through a union of competences. This partnership designed the project taking into account the financing opportunity with SGP / GEF and FSST (Social Sustainability Fund for Tourism) that had been available for two years.


The project “Strengthening Access to Sustainable Energy to Boost Income-Generating Activities in Monte Trigo” is a local and community development initiative aimed at empowering and strengthening the capacities of AGRIPESCA, Monte Trigo Community Development Association through joint implementation strategic activities.


In particular, the project aimed to increase and improve access to energy resources in the village of Monte Trigo through the operationalization and expansion of Casa do Gelo through an autonomous renewable energy system. Physically translated in the installation at Casa do Gelo, of 2 more ice machines with a nominal production capacity in 24 hours of 1,000 kg (4x250 kg) of ice and a system of 24 kWp photovoltaic energy generation and accumulation of 15 kWp. In addition to the complementary activities and synergies developed during its implementation, which included training actions with the Association and the women of the village.


Improvement in the quality of fish supply

Since the 18thof April, the Monte Trigo Community has had access to ice in a continuous and predictable way, an indispensable raw material for the viability of the commercial activity of fisheries, food security and management of local biodiversity by reducing economic losses and post-catch fish. The Casa do Gelo of Monte Trigo, after its construction, has a system that, following a production regime, results in a daily availability of 500 kg / day. Ice is produced in the form of scales, adapting to the needs of fish conservation and best practices.


Sharing responsibilities in the management of community infrastructure

The Municipality of Porto Novo, legitimate owner of Casa do Gelo, on the 25thof August transferred the management of this infrastructure, within the project framework, to a community management. AGRIPESCA assuming the management of Casa do Gelo, has reinforced its capacity for community leadership, taking responsibility for some community tasks. This transfer symbolizes a first approach to a fisheries co-management approach, essential for the development of the sector, especially in the protection of environmental resources and in the guarantee of essential services, such as ice.


How renewable energies can contribute to the ice production process

Monte Trigo, was the first community supplied 100% with Renewable Energies (SESAM-ER Project) in Cape Verde, through the Monte Trigo Photovoltaic Plant (CFMT), operating since 2012, today faces another challenge - that of increasing demand energy, normal with the evolution of electricity usage habits directly related to the development provided by the 24/24 availability of electricity. Casa do Gelo started operating in 2014, created to take advantage of the surplus energy from the Monte Trigo Photovoltaic Plant. After the expansion of the CFMT, the ice production unit started to receive energy in a normal way for some hours of the day, and not to depend on the surpluses generated. With the current project, this unit gained its own energy autonomy, with the installation of a solar photovoltaic system with batteries, being able to manage its production according to needs, increase its production capacity and also the possibility of creating business related to fishing activity.

System technical data:

  • 54 275 Wp polycrystalline solar modules
  • 3 5,000 W DC-AC inverters, each
  • 1 8000 W battery charger inverter
  • 24 2,100 Ah (48V) OPzV batteries
  • 4 250 kg / day ice machines


The design and development of vulnerable communities through the empowerment of small community associations and women

The project had as one of the financiers, the GEF SGP through the program of Small Grants of the Global Fund for the Environment to the Civil Society Organizations that has potentialized and made possible financing opportunities and the establishment of partnerships for the development of vulnerable communities. This program has supported the empowerment of several small community associations both at the organizational and financial level as well as in finding local development solutions.


Training actions were carried out mainly aimed at AGRIPESCA members, including topics ranging from strengthening associative capacities; Challenges and gender mainstreaming and business management of the Ice Production Unit. The results achieved range from an increase in closer relations between members and non-members of the Association, with free and unencumbered debates on the challenges of community development. Through the partnership with IEFP, a qualified PIN training program was developed through qualified trainers (Planning, starting a business) for 15 women from the village of Monte Trigo. These women are mostly unemployed looking for an opportunity to start a auto business. As a result, 10 Business Plans were completed, which were submitted to the program of assigning individual kits to start their business.


The importance of strategic alliances in community development

The importance of alliances between actors is essential to make community projects viable. The alliances in the framework of the project “Access to sustainable energy to boost income-generating activities in Monte Trigo” have enabled the mobilization and dynamization of various sources of financing, the technological and technical transfer and the development of various sustainable community actions, with positive results in community development, namely improving the conditions for fishing, strengthening community leadership and empowering women. Results that could have been compromised and made impossible if the action had been isolated. AGRIPESCA had the support of the following partners: Porto Novo City Council, GEF SGP, the Ministry of Tourism and Transport (through the Social Sustainability Fund for Tourism), Águas de Ponta Preta, Lda, the Employment and Professional Training (IEFP).


Lessons learned and recommendations

From the project's implementation process, a set of fundamental facts and situations and learning that could serve as support and maximize results for future community initiatives was investigated:

-          The implementation of a local project is a practical way of empowering local leaders and mobilizing strategic partners for the locality, in particular technological and financial ones;

-          Isolated local communities such as Monte Trigo, through Community Associations, should be included in the energy transition process, especially in the context of tax benefits, in order to enable community investment in renewable energies and the creation of sustainable communities.

-          The transfer of Casa do Gelo to community management is a first step towards co-managing fisheries in the fishing village of Monte Trigo by sharing public responsibilities with the community in the management of fisheries infrastructure.

-          The creation of a network of private and public partners is essential for community development, especially in the context of technical and technological transfer.

-          Access to energy in isolated and remote communities through renewable energies is not only viable, but also serves to build sustainable and self-sufficient locations.

-          The implementation of local projects is essential for the involvement of all members of the community, especially women, ensuring community and individual ownership of the initiative and the commitment of all to community development.


Contributions to the penetration of renewable energies in Cape Verde

Monte Trigo, one of the most remote and isolated villages in Cape Verde, with 275 inhabitants (INE-Censo 2010), through its 39.3 kWp Photovoltaic Power Plant, installed in 2012, contributed to the production of more than 300 MWh of electrical energy until today, saved the use of 87,000 liters of fossil fuel and avoided the emission of 261 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.


The photovoltaic solar system now installed, which added to the micro network supplied 100% with renewable energies, contributes, albeit symbolically, to the increase in the penetration of Renewable Energies in Cape Verde, also contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals.


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