13 Aug 2012
In my Clean Energy Events Listing post last week I briefly mentioned the recent REEEP Project Manager’s Meeting, a two-day event which took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the start of July. Once in each Programme Cycle we gather together project managers of ongoing projects that have received REEEP funding to exchange information and experiences in project development, share learning and facilitate networking and mutual support. We also take the opportunity to get their views on REEEP’s future direction and aspects of operation, such as monitoring and evaluation. It really was an exciting meeting so I ought to say a bit more!
The meeting was so exciting because we had a remarkable group of participants – over 30 representatives of 26 projects covering a broad range of subjects in clean energy. It was a truly international group with participants from a diverse range of countries including Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia and Mozambique.
Participants such as M’Gbra N’Guessan of Econoler (pictured below), whose project is supporting the establishment of an energy labelling system for household appliances in UEMOA Countries like Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger and Senegal. Or Yoga Adiwinarto of the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy Transport, whose project on Implementing Low Carbon Public Transport in Jakarta is introducing efficiently planned trunk/feeder services with buses optimising the use of CNG fuel in the the Indonesian capital.
We did our best to make the most of all this experience with an agenda that put the project managers centre-stage. Powerpoint presentations were (almost entirely) banned in favour of project exhibitions, facilitated discussions and interactive workshop sessions on particular subjects. Projects were exhibited in poster presentations, enabling participants to engage with project developers. Participants were then asked to report back on what they had learned that was relevant to their own project. As one put it: “It was great to see good products in so many different projects – from biomass to lighting and transport – and to see that we face a similar challenge: to scale up products and turn them into mass products that can be used in any country. We need to share not only challenges but also solutions that make products work on a larger scale.”
We made recordings of the proceedings and there’s a huge amount of information to digest. It’s hard to summarise a one-hour discussion on, e.g. “Market Rules of the Game: Business Models to Upscale Your Project,” or “End-User Finance” (two of the ‘learning from project experience’ discussions) in just a couple of paragraphs so my aim is to cover some of the themes and some of the individual projects in a bit more detail in separate posts over the coming weeks. If you can’t wait, you can get an overview by downloading the official report here (PDF, 4.5Mb; smaller low res version available on request):
I came away from the Project Managers’ Meeting stimulated, enthused and humbled. Working in Europe for a second tier organisation like REEEP can sometimes feel a bit remote – the work of the projects we support connects me strongly to our purpose and mission, so I was grateful for this opportunity to connect with them.