Making a difference by fighting energy poverty
Imagine living without access to electricity – and the lighting, water heating, cooking, refrigeration and other modern conveniences it provides. This is energy poverty and, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), there are still over 1.2 billion people in the world today without access to electricity.
To raise the world’s awareness about energy poverty and the importance of developing access to energy, the United Nations declared 2012 the “Year of Sustainable Energy for All”. As a worldwide engineering and technical expert in energy delivery, Nexans heard the UN’s appeal and made a commitment to address energy poverty through the Nexans Foundation. Our mission is challenging but straightforward: to help disadvantaged communities get access to services that are essential for their human, social and economic development.
In 2011, the Foundation partnered with Electricians Without Borders (ESF), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and registered charity that provides access to energy for disadvantaged communities worldwide. Under a sponsorship agreement, we supplied this NGO with low- and medium-voltage power cables worth 300,000 euros for over three years, covering 50% of all ESF’s needs.
In fact, we have supported ESF every year since 2013, assisting with 11 projects in 10 countries – most recently for a post-hurricane emergency mission in Saint-Martin. We helped secure electricity to six areas on the island, providing electricity in 20 schools and distributing 3,000 solar kits.
In all, we have supported 67 projects in 30 countries worldwide, making a difference in the lives of over 700,000 people. These projects include the installation of a photovoltaic system to give light and energy to a medical clinic in Eritrea, a very poor country in Northeast Africa with no local power source. The clinic, which assists 5,000 people each year, includes a maternity ward where approximately 150 mothers give birth and 900 women are monitored. The photovoltaic system ensures electricity is available continuously, instead of failing for hours or days at a time.