Light Up Timor Through Enterprise
Doncaster, 9810, Victoria, Australia.
Keywords: Renewable energy, social enterprise, community empowerment, solar energy
The Light up Timor through Enterprise project is empowering a local social enterprise in Timor Leste to pilot 260 Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) solar energy household installations in the remote, rural community of Baguia in the Baucau District. This project is being driven by the local community who has requested assistance in receiving affordable solar powered energy for their homes.
The solar lighting units provide better indoor lighting at night compared with existing kerosene lighting and improved communication through reliable phone charging. This leads to greater opportunities for education and income generation. Overall, the project addresses the issues of energy poverty through an enterprise approach.
The project is providing resources, training and support to staff at the Timor Leste-based social enterprise, Ho Musan Ida (translated is “With One Seed”), enabling them to run and grow the enterprise beyond the end of the project. Key to this will be establishing a train the trainer’s program, so that Ho Musan Ida (HMI) can establish local staff/agents based closer to end beneficiaries to overcome geographic constraints. The end goal is for HMI to have the capability to roll out the units to other remote communities in Timor Leste. HMI is critical to the success of the project because of its local experience, established reputation of assisting local communities with economic development projects, prior experience with Pay As You Go solar systems and expertise of its staff in working with rural communities.
This project is expected to have considerable benefits: capacity building for HMI staff and economic, social, educational and environmental benefits for the 1,317 beneficiaries of the solar systems installed under this project. The project will take place over two years from mid-2019 to mid-2021 and will be sustainable after this period. The project was developed by Rotary Club of Doncaster in consultation with the Rotary Club of Dili, Renew (formerly the Alternative Technology Association), who have been working actively in Timor Leste for the past 15 years), health and education experts and several Timor Leste government depts. The project is funded by a Rotary Foundation Global Grant, Rotary and Rotaract clubs contributions, donations and a philanthropic grant.