COOPI has started in June a year-long project to promote renewable energies for social development in Sierra Leone, funded by the Prosolidar Foundation, an organization created by the National Fund of the Banking Sector for solidarity-related projects.
The intervention will take place in seven communities located in the northeastern ares of the country. Its purpose is to restore life conditions of the local population, who is trying to recover from the Ebola epidemic, as well as to develop new production opportunities in the sector of renewable energy. Besides having decimated the population, the virus strongly disrupted the local economic flow and, for some parts, even stopped it.
Thanks to the help from Prosolidar, 10,000 people will be provided with the electric energy they are currently lacking or which they obtain from fossil sources, both expensive and polluting. The intervention will focus on the installation of five Charging Stations (a small-scale energy plant produced with solar panels, suitable for basic needs) and of two Energy Hubs (a bigger-scale plant whic can fulfill an array of different community needs), allowing to replace fossil sources with renewable and sustainable electric energy. By having access to such type of energy, the village inhabitants benefitting from the project will be able to power their mobile phones, light their streets during night time and also to provide themselves with community fridges in order to store beverages and food.
Moreover, about a thousand small farmers will increase their production by using the energy allocated to work and transform raw materials, improving the market of local goods such as cashew.
These benefits will be furtherly amplified through the carrying out of an additional bigger-scale program, achieved in partnership with german ONG Welthungerhilfe and funded by the European Union. It is estimated that at least 16,000 families will have access to an electricity grid fueled by renewable energy, or will own an autonomous solar plant that will cut the costs related to lightning. Shared plants will also be installed in schools, medical centers, hospitals, public and community infrastructures.
“We care a lot about our collaboration with the Prosolidar Foundation and we hope it can represent the beginning of a lasting partnership”- said Ennio Miccoli, General Director at/of COOPI. “The increase in partnerships with private philanthropists, both in Italy and abroad, is something for us strategic and of first-priority, as both parties are aware that general problems affect everybody today and also that only a truly integrated, multi-stakeholder approach can improve the way the whole international community is trying to solve global challenges”.
The Prosolidar Foundation- a non-profit entity is a bilateral organisation established under the initiative of the National Fund of the Banking Sector for Projects of Solidarity – a non-profit entity, and a bilateral organisation, from which the Foundation has inherited its cultural heritage and founding principles.
The Prosolidar Foundation is a secular, independent organisation recognised as a non-profit entity and active in both Italy and the rest of the world. It is the first and, as things stand today, still the only instance, even on the international level, of an organisation founded by the sectoral social partners and financed through “match-gifting”, meaning joint, equal contributions workers and employers. The contribution of each individual is equal to 6 euro a year.
Within the Foundation, all the union organisations of the banking sector are represented on a equal basis (through their national secretaries offices), as well as all the member banks of the Italian Banking Association, together with the Italian Banking Association itself.