Jerusalem/Bonn, 28 October 2015 (WWEA) – The Board of the World Wind Energy Association has decided on the occasion of the 14th World Wind Energy Conference 2015 in Jerusalem to give the World Wind Energy Award 2015 to the Mali Folkecenter Nyetaa. The WWEA Board wants to recognise the Mali Folkecenter’s pioneering role in rural electrification based on renewable energy in Mali, Africa and worldwide.
The Mali Folkecenter Nyetaa (MFC) was established in the year 1999 as a Malian NGO, with the help of the Danish Folkecenter for Renewable Energy. Dr. Ibrahim Togola was the key person in setting up the MFC, with strong support from Dr. Preben Maegaard and Jane Kruse, both from the Danish Folkecenter. Today, Mali-Folkecenter’s permanent staff consists of Malians and expatriates including engineers, socio-economists, socio-environmentalists, a sociologist and technicians.
The MFC has become a very active driver of rural electrification based on renewable energy, in Mali and beyond. Since the creation of the MFC, the electrification rate in Mali has increased from 1 % to 17 %. During the past 16 years, MFC helped over 800 000 people in the rural areas of Mali with solar home systems for schools, public solar lanterns, solar light and refrigeration for rural clinics, biofuels solutions to power local mini-grids, and solar hybrid mini-grids.
It has to be underlined that the MFC is primarily focussing on enabling local communities to mobilise their own, local resources, and use external support only as much as necessary in order to reach the desired results. MFC gives MFC gives support and priority to rural entrepreneurship and income generating mechanisms which can ensure profits for operators, local economic growth and provision of funds for maintenance, repairs and continued operation.
MFC’s representatives, in particular Chairman Dr. Ibrahim Togola, are also active outside Mali and support rural electrification activities of other countries. In addition, the MFC and its representatives have become important advisors and partners of international organisations such as IRENA, REN21 and more.
Thanks to MFC’s activities, renewable energies are today widely recognised as a serious option for rural electrification in particular in the African countries which are so blessed with renewable resources. Thanks to this, Africa is about to become the leading continent in the global “Energiewende”, the shift towards renewable energy. “Nyetaa” is, by the way, equivalent to “Wende” – “change”.
With the award, WWEA would like to recognise this key role and at the same time WWEA wants to encourage others to take the Mali Folkecenter as an inspiring example to follow, especially for many other African countries.