Four key building blocks are:
  1. The implementation process, including finance, resource sourcing, conversion and end use;
  2. Support services (additional services such as training or micro-finance facilities);
  3. The enabling environment of policies, regulations and incentives; and
  4. The socio-cultural context including local norms and preferences, decision-making structures and levels of social cohesion.

IIED covers a range of products and services targeted at communities located in diverse socio-cultural and geographical contexts. They also identify useful experience that can help to replicate or scale up successful models that link the poor to modern energy markets.

The paper highlights a number of lessons:

1. Private sector interventions alone often cannot reach the poorest of the poor. ‘Business as usual' is unlikely to reach the poor as profit margins and time frames are less attractive. Pro-poor models usually require ‘non-traditional’ business partners, such as government, non-government organisations, enterprise associations, social enterprises and communities themselves. A key challenge is targeting government and donor support to stimulate and enhance private sector involvement.

2. Understanding the socio-cultural context is important in designing models that reach the poor. This research highlights the importance of understanding the socio-cultural context. This understanding may
help identify new entry points for the poor and ways of capturing their dynamism and innovation in designing products and services that meet local preferences. Designing a model that incorporates local preferences and expectations – such as women’s views on health and the commercialisation of fuelwood – can be a short term investment that ensures the long term viability of the model.

3. The success of energy access initiatives should be measured in terms of development benefits not the number of households connected to the grid or efficient cookstoves distributed. The ‘indicators of success’ should be defined with the end-users and reflect the development benefits generated by access to energy, such as improved health, education and livelihoods.

4. Lack of knowledge and understanding of delivery models is a key obstacle to investment. There is a need for more systematic analysis of delivery models,in order to provide investors, governments and donors with evidence of their impact, financial sustainability and potential return on investment.

5. Employing business analysis tools to in-depth case studies can be an effective way to highlight pro- poor innovations within a delivery model in a way that doesn’t compromise the key elements of a sustainable enterprise. Central to our model is the use of a value proposition that incorporates social and environmental as well as economic value. Applying such tools to in-depth case study analysis, along with development tools such as ‘market mapping’, allows us to analyse the appropriateness of a particular energy delivery model within a specific context. This approach also highlights the risks of replicating ‘successful’ delivery models when contextual factors are uncertain or inappropriate to a given model. The framework developed in this paper can be explored further to identify and categorise contextual factors to allow for more systematic analysis.

By exploring how ‘energy delivery models’ – involving public, private and civil society actors – can deliver fair and inclusive benefits to the poor, we can inform efforts to ensure that energy access interventions and enterprises are able to deliver lasting development impacts.

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