On December 10th, International Human Rights Day, stakeholders in the last mile solar energy distribution sector convened to spotlight energy access as a human right. The event marked the U.S. launch of The Global Distributors Collective’s (GDC) inaugural Last Mile Distribution: State of the Sector Report. It was an inspiring night to talk about unlocking the full potential of the last mile distribution sector and reaching underserved communities.
Attendees contributed to the lively discussion about the latest developments, key findings, and next steps we need to ensure that energy access becomes a reality in last mile communities throughout the world. The GDC report cast a light on the vital role of solar distributors, many of whom are women, in creating markets for solar products and effectively reaching last mile customers. Central to the conversation is access to finance and the various challenges and constraints associated with the LMDs.
The main takeaways from the discussion include:
- Products like solar lights, solar home systems, and improved cookstoves are important pieces in addressing energy poverty, “…75 percent of customers served by LMDs live in poverty, earning less than USD 3.20 per day, and 44 percent live in extreme poverty on less than USD 1.90 a day.
- Promising new financing mechanisms and solutions are emerging including, The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund, Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project (ROCEP), and the Distributor Financing Fund teaming Angaza and SIMA.
- These innovations, coupled with technical assistance providers like the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, are paving the way for changes in the way the sector is supported and taking the world one step closer to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The report launch, sponsored by the Shine Campaign, was hosted by Energy Access Happy Hour at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C.
Photo Caption: Celebrating energy access with our community. L to R: Emira Woods (Shine), Parangat Shukla (SparkMeter), Madie Sturgess (EarthSpark International), Marcelle Huizenga (SparkMeter), Katherine Lucey (Solar Sister), Emma Colenbrander (Global Distributors Collective), Hannah Girardeau (SEforAll).