The “Power for Life” initiative addresses what may be the single biggest obstacle to development: the absence of electricity. Most attempts to reduce hunger and poverty assume that electricity is not available – in sub-Sahara Africa 95% of rural farmers does not have it.
The Hunger Solutions Institute taps into resources from the Universities Fighting World Hunger (UFWH) network to identify and connect innovations, research and proven solutions to the people, communities, and organizations fighting hunger every day across the world. Since Auburn is in partnership with the United Nation’s World Food Programme (which deploys nearly 15,000 staff in more than 75 countries), the institute can also use this widely available resource to field-test solutions.
This creates a quick-learning loop – from academic research to real-life proof of concept. With faculty, staff and partners that range from think tanks such as the Milken Institute; NGOs such as Women’s Campaign International and Stop Hunger Now; and international organizations such as the World Economic Forum, HSI can create multi-sector partnerships to quickly move innovative concepts into true sustainable solutions.
The HSI approach is completely different: we will deliver breakthrough clean, renewable biomass heat and electrical power technology at the community level, with a special emphasis on women who bear a disproportionate burden for generating energy for their families. This will enable the application of modern technology from community food storage to computers in village schools, and to dramatically improve food security, nutrition, health, and education without waiting another generation – or more – for governments to provide access to a national electrical grid.
Affordable community-level electricity is a transformative intervention: in the same way that extensive adoption of cell phones has bypassed landlines in developing countries, this technology can power Africa – community by community. Implementing partners include WFP, WCI, and 100X, an NGO that works with women farmers in 9 countries, including Malwai, where President Banda is a big supporter of the project.