COVID-19 and the Threat to Last-Mile Energy Access

The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to set development and energy access efforts back years – if not decades – in the world’s most vulnerable areas and countries.

The global South faces a tsunami of multiple, devastating impacts driven by the crisis – everything from lost lives, overwhelmed public health systems and psycho-social trauma to deepening food insecurity, increases in gender-based violence and economic suffering stemming from unemployment and market disruptions.

Community-based energy champions are truly the backbone of a just transition to a clean energy future. Yet the pandemic has put these indispensable leaders at serious risk. Many are people of color or women.  The micro and small businesses they lead are experiencing dramatic customer losses due to lock downs and market closures. Sales are significantly reduced as customers are forced to cut back on clean energy to prioritize food, medicine and other expenses tied to COVID-related illness and death. At the same time, these front-line energy justice champions have limited access to personal protective equipment – and zero access to government stimulus funds or small business loans.

COVID-19 Recovery Fund Grant

The COVID-19 Recovery Fund Grant demonstrates Shine’s commitment, during these extraordinarily challenging times, to sustain energy access initiatives that are locally-rooted, women-led and managed and/or directed by local communities. These small grants will provide funding for last-mile energy access entrepreneurs, cooperatives, agencies and community leaders as they help vulnerable populations struggling with the global pandemic. The fund was designed by The Shine Campaign and Shine’s Council of Women Leaders in Energy Access.

To learn more about and apply for the COVID-19 Recovery Grant Fund, please download the following:


For questions, please email

Information about COVID-19 and Last-Mile Energy Access

The global coronavirus crisis underscores the urgent need for distributed energy solutions in marginalized communities confronted by threats to food security, health, education and economic development. 

This webpage includes valuable resources to help Shine’s community of practice raise awareness, mobilize finance and advocate for just, locally based and led solutions to ensure that we fill this critical energy access gap in the world’s last mile communities now.


Shine Community Convening and COVID Recovery Grant Launch – Recording


“Ask an Expert” with Harish Hande, Founder and CEO of SELCO Foundation

COVID-19: Solar-Powered Hand Washing Machine Made In Ghana

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