Capacity building forms a vital part of successful and sustainable climate action projects and initiatives in Africa. Understanding the context-specific capacity gaps and needs in an area can shed light on the most suitable route to take to build capacity and, in turn, ramp up the success of a project. For this reason, capacity needs assessments and capacity building planning activities are embedded in the Sustainable Energy Solutions for Africa (SESA) project.
The SESA project works to increase energy access in Africa, supporting the uptake of scalable and replicable energy access innovations that are co-developed with in-country living labs, tested, validated, and later replicated further.
The project has taken a unique and value-adding approach to capacity development as an integral part of the project. Following extensive desktop research, interviews and focus group discussions with various government officials, civil society stakeholders and SESA project partners working in the selected sites, the team is proud to announce that a SESA capacity building plan has been developed and completed.
Following comprehensive skills needs assessment on energy use conducted with representatives from both the public and private sectors, the SESA capacity building plan led by ICLEI Africa, unpacks present and future knowledge needs in the SESA project demonstration and validation site countries, namely Kenya, Ghana, Malawi, Morocco and South Africa. The document capture the current capacity of the actors in the sites in supporting innovative, sustainable energy access interventions, it pinpoint the stakeholders’ desired capacity and identify the gaps in relation to sustainable energy solutions foreseen. In addition, and most importantly, the capacity building plan highlights the possible tools and resources that could be developed and/or utilised to address the capacity gaps and needs identified.
Despite some differences across countries, a common element is the strong need to raise awareness on the benefit and functioning of the different RES solutions. This is particularly important for the end users and people in the local communities where those are implemented, but also at the administrative and political level in the same areas. In all cases the delivery of materials in the local language has been indicates as mandatory in order to reach out to the local communities.
The results of this extensive work are the building blocks of the capacity-building programme, which starting from fall 2022, will dive into all the sustainable energy solutions planned in SESA, breaking down the topics into easier-to-digest small units that will be regularly published online for self-paced learning. This modular package of capacity-building tools and methodologies will be easily accessible on the SESA website and also featured at local InfoSpots, as well as collected and integrated in the SESA toolbox.
Thanks to its comprehensive outlook, the context-specific capacity building tools identified in the plan are a key piece of information that will inform not only the development of the learning tools, in a more impactful capacity building programme, but it will also guide the activities foreseen in the next years with regard to policy and business analysis.