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In Conversation with... Lisa Jordan

Shine is a newly launched global campaign dedicated to ending energy poverty. As Shine’s director, Lisa Jordan is working to mobilize foundations, communities of faith and investors that have previously not focused on the more than over 1.1 billion people who lack access to energy. In an interview with Power for All, Jordan outlined the campaign’s goals, including securing $200 million in new investment into energy access by 2020, and discusses the catalytic role that the faith community can play in achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7.

The Right Time

Amid the energy transition to renewable energy unfolding across the world, Jordan said that we have an unprecedented opportunity to end energy poverty.

“We have plummeting prices for new technologies. We have mobile renewable energy technologies that can reach the last mile very, very easily. And that was not true five years ago. A lot of people outside our community are not aware of that fact,” Jordan said. “So, Shine’s purpose really is to bring that good news message to many development actors; to investors, to faith communities across the globe, and talk about the opportunity that sits in front of us” to not only SDG 7—universal energy access—but also many of the other SDGs that energy can enable.

Keeping The Faith

Recently, the Pope has come out in a very outspoken manner in support of climate action and social justice, and he’s just one of many from the faith community who are supporting these goals. The potential influence is enormous. The Catholic church has over one billion followers, while the World Evangelical Alliance has more than 600 million.

“Shine has friends and partners from the Hindi communities, from the Islamic communities, from the Christian communities and from the Jewish community, so we are really ecumenical in that sense. We have all the major religions with us, and within those religions we have a lot of faith partners who are well organized: Islamic Relief Worldwide, the World Council of Churches, the American Jewish World Service.

“The faith communities have incredible agency, and we feel so fortunate to be able to work with them, because they have this depth and breadth of reach across the globe. But they're also well organized, and have a voice and an agency within policy circles. We need all those types of agencies engaged. We need to adapt in order to reach the last mile, and we need very strong voices on advocacy. We also need people who can really champion solutions.”

2020 Vision

Shine has three principal goals over the years to come: unlocking finance, championing solutions, and empowering local communities. The first means of increasing the flow of capital into social enterprises and viable businesses that have scalable solutions.

“We are trying to identify investment opportunities for mission-driven investors, and trying to accompany those partners in their journey to learn about access to energy. We would like to be able to find capital when appropriate, and unlock some new forms of capital—especially in what’s often described as the ‘missing middle’ of the capital spectrum, where you need concessionary tools moving towards more commercial tools in the financing world.”

Shine launched in May with over $100 million in new commitments, and plans to double that by 2020.

“We need an enabling environment in order for that capital to be used for productive purpose. That enabling environment includes advocacy to educate decision makers about the opportunity for distributed solutions, and to remove many of the barriers that exist within the field. We'd also like to see more agency come from demand-driven approaches towards access to energy.

“So, our second commitment is really to champion solutions, and we can only do that with partners like Power for All, like the ACCESS Coalition, Practical Action, SEforALL. It’s really a joint group effort to help facilitate at the highest levels of policymaking, when you're unleashing voices from those who are experts in this field, and from the communities who actually need access to energy to be able to inform the policy dialogues.”

Empowering Local Communities

Shine is committed to empowering local communities, says Jordan, by supporting local capacity and community-based approaches.

“This regularly includes things around community organizing, and identifying those demand-driven solutions, and the holistic development approaches to access to energy, because energy is an enabler for economic empowerment, for human rights, for health and education outcomes.

“We would like to be able to ensure that the kind of energy resources being developed have those development outcomes associated with them. This requires that we bring in many new partners into the field of access to energy, who are traditionally oriented towards peace or education, or health, or women's economic empowerment, or human rights. So really to expand the fields and have more actors who are traditionally not associated with climate change or renewable energy.”

Shine was founded by Wallace Global Fund, SEforALL and GreenFaith.

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