ProGREEN: Strengthening knowledge on renewable energy and scientific capacities in West Africa
March 10, 2021

Recently, the Promoting Gains in Renewable Energy (ProGREEN) – West Africa project assembled multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral teams of experts from Burkina Faso and Senegal to carry out a regional assessment on small-scale renewable energy. The assessment aimed to identify enabling and constraining factors for adoption and expansion of decentralized renewable energy systems, along with assessing development outcomes related to the renewable energy transition in West Africa.

START employed a mixed-team approach for the assessments in each country that brought together early- and mid-career experts from universities, research centers, government agencies, private sector actors involved in finance, and representatives from civil society. This approach, which aimed to foster integrated learning between research, policy and practice, was a new way of working for most team members and highlighted the rich learning opportunities found in doing integrated science.

Together, the teams found that while access to renewable energy brings significant improvements to the living conditions of local communities in Burkina Faso and Senegal, insufficient funding, technical expertise, and quality control, along with poor engagement of local communities, hinder its development and expansion. Findings suggest that holistic capacity development, updating of best practices, and increased cooperation among actors in the renewable energy space are needed to realize the potential of decentralized renewable energy in both countries.

Concise versions of each country report highlighting approaches, key results and recommendations are now available here (Burkina Faso) and here (Senegal). Check START’s ProGREEN web page next week for French translations.

START is now building from the knowledge and learning achieved in the ProGREEN assessments to further advance capacity development of early and mid-career researchers and professionals, and to emphasize learning into action in Phase 2. The Phase 2 effort will include a virtual Advanced Institute (AI) focused on learning that emerged from the country assessment reports along with cross-cutting themes relating to renewable energy. The AI will be held in June and will be open to early and mid-career researchers and professionals from Burkina Faso, Senegal, and Morocco (where previous energy-focused collaboration with ProGREEN has taken place). This AI will serve as a foundation for targeted Action Awards focusing on putting learning into action to make an impact on key renewable energy issues in Burkina Faso and Senegal.

The invitation for the ProGREEN Virtual Advanced Institute will be released later this month.

For further details regarding the Promoting Gains in Renewable Energy (ProGREEN) – West Africa project or the AI call for applications, please contact Mariama Camara at, visit and follow START on social media.


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