The Arab region is endowed with abundant natural resources, notably fossil fuels and renewables such as solar and wind.
Rural communities continue to depend on traditional energy resources that are inadequate in expanding agricultural value chains, extending basic services, and improving the quality of life of women, children and vulnerable groups. Arab Governments are more focused on the development of large-scale renewable energy power generation systems, leading to a weak enabling environment and financial support for the private sector to invest in small-scale renewable energy technologies, especially in rural areas, thus hindering the development of and investment in such projects.
The Regional Initiative to Promote Small-Scale Renewable Energy Applications in Rural Areas of the Arab Region (REGEND) aims to improve the livelihood, economic benefits, social inclusion and gender equality of Arab rural communities, particularly marginalized groups, by addressing energy poverty, water scarcity, vulnerability to climate change, and other natural resources challenges. Appropriate small-scale renewable energy technologies are used to conduct productive activities, support entrepreneurial development, and ensure women’s empowerment, with an emphasis on creating jobs and developing robust value chains to promote a sustainable economy.
REGEND is a Sida-funded project. Implementing partners include the League of Arab States, line ministries, local authorities, various regional organizations and Arab women associations, United Nations organizations, local and regional non-governmental organizations, research institutions and academia.
The REGEND project will achieve the following outputs:
- Baseline study on socioeconomic and political dynamics and environmental consideration linked to productive activities by sector, access to energy service requirements and availability of sources of energy supply, and associated technologies needed to support resilience in rural communities.
- Country gender assessment on entry points to energy access, entrepreneurial development, and building resilience to climate change for targeted communities of Arab rural areas.
- Toolkits, fact sheets/booklets and other promotional material on appropriate small-scale renewable energy technologies and applications.
- Conceptual comprehensive business models for implementing small-scale renewable energy technologies to support resilience of targeted populations.
- Pilot projects implemented in selected rural communities in targeted Arab countries to test and finetune the comprehensive conceptual business models.
- Regional strategic guidelines to improve the enabling environment for the private sector and women entrepreneurs to invest in income generating activities by increasing the use of small-scale renewable energy technologies in productive activities in Arab rural areas.
- A regional entity to adopt the policy frameworks and implementation tools, and support a sustainable and durable operationalization of the developed models and policy tools beyond the pilot phase of the initiative.
- Conducting training-of-trainers workshops and establishing a network of Arab rural practitioners to build long-term ownership of the project and to ensure successful achievement of its intended results.
- Multi-stakeholder forum on small-scale renewable energy technology use for entrepreneurial development and gender mainstreaming in productive sectors in rural areas.
- A gender-focused network on small-scale renewable energy technologies and entrepreneurial skills in rural development, bringing a gender perspective to understanding energy needs and developing employment opportunities.