Freetown, Nov. 22, 2016 -- Today, community and civil society organizations came together to support the Sierra Leone Energy Revolution, and join the quest to bring clean solar power to all by 2025.

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) across Sierra Leone are working to improve the livelihoods of the country’s 7 million residents and create long-term sustainable development. Today, 25 organizations—including Concern Worldwide, Oxfam IBIS, Action Aid, Trocaire, Population Council and Green Scenery—joined a workshop to learn more about the Sierra Leone Energy Revolution, and how their work can support the goal of clean modern energy for all.

Energy has been termed the “golden thread that connects economic growth, social equity, and environmental sustainability” by Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General. Clean, reliable electricity is vital for powering health, education and opportunity. In Sierra Leone, off-grid solar energy is already saving many rural families 10-15% of their weekly income, while renewable mini-grids, irrigation and machinery are powering community health centers, schools, businesses, rural financial institutions and agriculture.

The workshop included presentations on the Sierra Leone Energy Revolution to bring modern energy to all by 2025, and insights on the PRESSD-SL—Promotion of Renewable Energy Services for Social Development in Sierra Leone—programme which aims to help over 85,000 people access energy services.

Aminata Dumbuya, Power for All Campaign Leader, said “Off-grid solar and other renewable solutions can save lives in Sierra Leone by powering medical equipment, refrigerating vaccines and illuminating emergency operations, and create important opportunities for children by bringing electricity into homes and schools. Community groups and CSOs working together with the government and private sector will increase the speed and impact of energy access, and ensure that every family in the country is given a chance to improve their future with clean safe power.”

Kevin Johnston, Renewable Energy Policy Advisor at Oxfam IBIS said: “Raising awareness around energy access and the renewable energy technologies that are available is essential to ensure that more rural households can access and afford these innovative solutions. The PRESSD-SL project wants to highlight the important roles that CSOs can play in supporting renewable energy solutions for the rural poor.”

The event ended with a call to action for CSOs and community organizations to take strong, collaborative steps to eliminate energy poverty in Sierra Leone.