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CLEEN: Making local grass roots organisations stronger by working on energy efficiency

WECF and partners organise regional network meeting and workshop in Georgia and Armenia

19.09.2016 |

This week WECF and her Georgian and Armenian partners organise a regional network meeting of grass roots organisations from 4 countries, working jointly on energy efficiency and climate change awareness, as part of the CLEEN Program, funded by the European Union. Followed only a few days later by a workshop on Energy Cooperatives organised by WECF and Armenian partners Ayrudzy and Tapan.

Both events are organised as there is a strong need to establish a cooperation between local grass roots organisations to give them a stronger voice and to make them heard by local and regional politicians and policy makers.

Stimulate citizen's participation

Aim of both meetings is to stimulate citizen’s participation in decentralized energy production in the EECCA countries (Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia). The network meeting, which will take place September 19-21 in Bakuriani Georgia, is organised by Georgian partners ‘Students for Energy Efficiency’ and by ‘Society Development Centre of Akhaltsikhe’.

The workshop on Energy Cooperatives will take place from September 26-28 in Ashtarak, Armenia. General objective of the workshop is to develop alternative and gender-sensitive business models for renewable energy and energy efficiency and to consider whether and how these forms in Armenia are feasible and useful, also with regard to current legal and economic conditions.

The workshop meeting will emphasise the importance of Energy Cooperatives for a country like Armenia. Energy cooperatives not only create local jobs but can lead to increasing incomes for both women and men in the villages, while at the same time it diminishes carbon emissions and environmental pollution. An important added value of the switch to locally produced sustainable energy is the reduction of economic vulnerability, due to the fact that energy doesn’t need to be imported from elsewhere anymore.

Grass roots organisations making a difference in their communities

“Energy Efficiency measures and working on sustainable energy is of utmost importance in many of the EECCA countries who mainly depend on Russian gas” states Olga Plekhanova, energy coordinator at WECF.

Anna Samwel, head of WECF branch office Georgia, says: “We see grass roots organisations grow strong, self-confident and more professional with the CLEEN programme, working with local governance and making a real difference in their communities. “ The meetings are seen as a next step within the CLEEN program.

Olga Plekhanova: “Last year the grass root organisations were trained on organisational development, now we’d like to take it a step further by supporting them in cooperating with each other, by establishing a strong network, to exchange experiences and share expertise and best practice” .