Sustainable access to energy has the power to catalyze social and economic development and promote better educated, healthier, more productive and resilient communities. Yet many families across the globe continue to live with inadequate access to reliable and affordable energy. More than 1.1 billion people, most of them in rural areas, have limited or no access to electricity, and 2.8 billion people still do not have access to clean fuel and technologies for cooking. Studies also reveal that energy exclusion is more endemic among the poor and suggest that women are often more likely to be excluded. This is because they tend to be more income constrained and can have different energy needs and preferences — a result of gendered economic and social roles — which may not be reflected in the energy solutions.
To address this gap in access to dependable, affordable energy in poor communities, in 2015 The Rockefeller Foundation launched the Smart Power for Rural Development (SPRD) initiative in India, sub-Saharan Africa and Myanmar, where achieving last-mile energy connectivity has been challenging. SPRD promotes partnerships around decentralized renewable energy solutions, specifically mini-grid electricity, to ensure that high quality, reliable energy is provided to all segments of the community — and that it drives inclusive local economic growth.
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