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- EarthSpark wins 2020 OPEC Fund Annual Award for Development for scaling-up energy access in Haiti
EarthSpark wins 2020 OPEC Fund Annual Award for Development for scaling-up energy access in Haiti
November 10, 2020. EarthSpark International, a non-profit organization committed to expanding access to electricity in Haiti, has won the 2020 OPEC Fund Annual Award for Development. The award was first introduced in 2006 and includes a US$100,000 prize. It recognizes EarthSpark for its innovative solutions to energy access and climate-related projects and for providing outstanding support to rural communities in Haiti.
Today, more than one billion people around the world live without electricity or with insufficient and unreliable access to energy. Nearly three billion people use polluting fuels like wood or biomass to heat or cook, impacting air quality and causing widespread health problems. In Haiti, where more than half of the population lives on less than US$1/day, some 75 percent of people lack access to electricity.
EarthSpark tackles these challenges head on. To date, it has laid the foundations for a national micro-grid plan by launching two vanguard solar-powered community micro-grids, directly serving about 4,000 people. EarthSpark is now working to develop additional micro-grids that will directly connect some 84,000 people and provide an additional 200,000 people with access to newly-powered businesses and services. The switch from kerosene lamps and diesel generators is expected to drive down CO2 and black carbon emissions, improve household and small business economics, and improve local air quality.
Allison Archambault, President of EarthSpark International, said: "The OPEC Fund Annual Award for Development reaches EarthSpark at a pivotal moment between foundation building and scale-up. EarthSpark will use this award to support core operations as the team launches the next micro-grids and pulls together the funding and regulatory commitments to enable the next 22 grids.”
EarthSpark’s ‘feminist electrification’ approach ensures that rural women benefit from, and take leadership roles in, infrastructure planning, training and employment. EarthSpark works directly with local businesses and cooperatives to develop new productive uses of electricity for agriculture to enhance incomes and food security.
OPEC Fund Director-General Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said: “The OPEC Fund recognizes that access to modern, reliable and affordable energy is closely linked to the empowerment of women, in addition to socio-economic development more generally. It is clear that EarthSpark has the potential to expand these valuable projects and increase support to vulnerable communities, as well as to inspire others.
“The OPEC Fund hopes that bestowing this year’s Annual Award for Development on EarthSpark will help to accelerate the next phase of the non-profit’s business plan and scale up its efforts to enable reliable energy access for more communities in Haiti.”
For more information, see an editorial feature about this year’s Annual Award in the OPEC Fund Quarterly magazine.
The OPEC Fund Annual Award for Development was introduced in 2006 to highlight the achievements of organizations and individuals in reducing poverty and supporting sustainable development. Past winners include: Vida Duti, in recognition of her remarkable work in striving for sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services for the population of Ghana; Bangladesh-based BRAC for its support of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh; the Foundation for Integral Development in Guatemala; Syrian refugee Doaa Al Zamel; the Children’s Cancer Hospital in Egypt; Kenya’s Kakenya Center for Excellence; Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan; Dr Mazen Al-Hajri, renowned ENT surgeon and philanthropist; Professor Muhammad Yunus; and Bartolina Sisa National Confederation of Peasant Indigenous Native Women of Bolivia.
About the OPEC Fund
The OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund) works in cooperation with developing country partners and the international development community to stimulate economic growth and social progress in low- and middle-income countries around the world. The organization was established by the member countries of OPEC in 1976 with a distinct mandate: to drive development, strengthen communities and empower people. The OPEC Fund’s work is people-centered, focusing on financing projects that meet essential needs, such as food, energy, infrastructure, employment (particularly relating to MSMEs), clean water and sanitation, healthcare and education. Our vision is a world where sustainable development is a reality for all.