4 of April 2024

Energising Lives and Empowering Communities through Energized Hubs

Let's imagine an off-grid village in northern Mozambique: Maria, like many other members of her community, some also displaced by the conflicts that have been ravaging the country, faces daily challenges due to the lack of access to electricity, despite the country's abundant energy resources. Her son, Miguel, has difficulties at school because he can't study at night due to the darkness that surrounds their home. In addition, Maria worries constantly about Miguel's health, knowing that limited access to electricity also means limited access to basic medical care.


Maria's story is a reality for many who live without access to energy. Only half of Mozambique's population has access to electricity and biomass accounts for 80% of total energy consumption. According to data from Mozambique's National Statistics Institute, currently, more than two million households (34%) are headed by women and, according to a recent survey, these households have less access to Sustainable Energy (38.4%) compared to households headed by men (41.1%), and the majority (59.6%) are at level 0 of energy consumption (less than 1 Kw/day), compared to 55.7% for men. This situation is even worse in Cabo Delgado province, where Maria lives, as the combined effect of conflicts and natural disasters has increased the vulnerability and economic and social exclusion of marginalized groups.


However, this narrative is about to change with the introduction of Energized Hubs (EHs), a concept created by the Mozambique Women of Energy Association (MWE) for communities like Maria's. In order to promote a just energy transition, MWE is developing actions focussed on improving women's and girls' access to clean, modern energy. With the support of the British and Canadian High Commission in Mozambique and the Carlos Morgado Foundation's Girafa Solar, MWE is establishing two Energized Hubs in the Metuge district, Cabo Delgado province, to contribute to Peace, Women's Empowerment and Energy Transition in Northern Mozambique.


The proposed solution centers on the concept of an Energized Hub (EH), an electrified and safe public space where community members, especially women and young people, can access information over the radio, acquire relevant skills and enjoy leisure activities. EHs are decentralized energy solutions that respond to the specific needs of off-grid rural communities.


Universal access to clean energy and skills development for women and girls are key conditions for sustainable development. More than half of the Mozambican population is female and 70% of them live in rural areas where access to energy is limited. Developing skills in the clean energy sector creates new opportunities for income generation and enables direct participation in the energy transition.


In short, Energized Hubs represent a holistic approach to tackling energy poverty, empowering communities like Maria's to thrive and grow. By providing access to electricity and essential resources, while promoting inclusion and community participation, Energized Hubs are transforming lives.


This initiative was joined by a campaign on the importance of gender equality as a mechanism for accelerating the energy transition, promoted by MWE in partnership with the Mozambican Renewable Energy Association (AMER). Launched in March, on International Women's Day, and running until 7th April, Mozambican Women's Day, #IgualdadeNaTransiçãoEnergética celebrated the women who lead and contribute to the transformation of the energy sector by advocating an inclusive approach that promotes equal gender participation. Over the past few weeks, we've shared inspiring stories, relevant data and educational resources to raise awareness and engage the community on this topic.


We know that ALER's work also crosses paths with gender equality and fair access to energy. We will continue to collaborate with ALER and rely on its experience to develop programs and actions to train, empower and enable women in renewable energy projects, not only in Mozambique but also in other Portuguese-speaking African countries.


We are together on this journey of change towards a more inclusive, sustainable and equitable energy future for all!


Taciana Peão Lopes

Executive Director and Co-founder of the Mozambique Women of Energy, MWE