Building from insights gained during the ProGREEN renewable energy assessments in Burkina Faso and Senegal during phase I of the project, START organized an Advanced Institute (AI) for 45 early and mid-career researchers from Burkina Faso, Senegal and Morocco in June, 2021. Due to health concerns and travel restrictions relating to COVID-19, the AI was conducted entirely online in partnership with an esteemed group of Francophone instructors from each country.
The AI utilized a mix of plenary and breakout sessions to allow participants to learn from experts and to exchange knowledge and experiences with their peers. Courses for the AI included:
- Climate and sustainability-linked motivations for renewable energy expansion with a special focus on West Africa
Instructor(s): Fatima Driouech, Eng. PhD Associate professor Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, Vice-chair IPCC WGI, Vice-chair Standing Committee for Climate Services at WMO/SERCOM and Mr. Abdou Ndour Coordinator Enda-Energie / PROGRES-LAIT Kolda
- In-depth exploration of solar energy in West Africa
Instructor: Prof. Oumarou Savadogo UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Engineering and Applied Solar Technologies Director of the New Materials for Energy Laboratory, Initiator and Director of the project: Institute for Training in Applied Solar Technologies Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso;
- Examining the role of bio-digesters and biogas in West Africa
Instructor: Dr. Lamine Ndiaye Director Sustainable Business For ALL (SB2-4ALL) and Lecturer at Senegalese University
- Impact-focused research and its importance for greater uptake and expansion of renewable energy technologies
Instructor: Mr. Lancelot Soumelong Ehode Communication Specialist IDRC-Senegal
Over the week, participants gained deeper understandings of (i) the contributions of renewable energy to development and synergies with other sectors important for achieving the SDGs, (ii) the renewable energy landscape in West Africa, the linkages to regional and global governance frameworks and financial schemes as well as the role renewable energy plays to help alleviate poverty in rural areas, and (iii) the necessity for closely aligning research and action. They also sharpened their skills for leading and contributing to concrete actions on renewable energy and to articulate that work to broader audiences. Finally, they built and expanded their network of peer researchers and professionals from which future partnerships and knowledge sharing can develop.