Hydro EMPowerment Network

Knowledge Exchange for Community Micro Hydro in South and Southeast Asia

The Hydro Empowerment Network aims to facilitate knowledge sharing between actors in the field of micro hydro power in South and South East Asia to reach the goal of achieving the broader standardisation and dissemination of micro hydro power in these regions.

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Advocacy and Replication of Community Organisers in Southeast Asia

News from WISIONS posted on March 14th, 2018

With the support of WISIONS, Green Empowerment successfully implemented various activities to support existing micro-hydro community organisers and community-created media to build and advocate for a more conducive environment for the replication of successful micro-hydro systems in Southeast Asia.Read moreMinimize

Southeast Asian members of the Hydro Empowerment Network have expressed a strong need to strengthen the local human resources – the so-called community organisers – who are at the heart of their work, by providing them with better support and increasing their numbers. The suggested solution for meeting this need is to collectively engage the micro hydro community organisers in the regions.

This WISIONS exchange programme with Green Empowerment aimed to enhance the community organisers in documentation and media management, to identify processes to provide guidance and training to new community organisers, and to use the findings and videos developed to advocate for community-centred approaches to micro-hydro power.

These aims were achieved through:

  • the implementation of media training and workshops to enable community organisers at both practitioner and community level to become creators of cultural content in a “media world”, with results to be shared online with a global community of stakeholders;
  • the facilitation of a workshop with existing community organisers to determine how HPNET can strengthen their current work and establish new community organisers; and
  • the implementation of a research initiative to identify the specific needs and opportunities of partner organisations with regards to their community programmes.

The exchange activities provided an opportunity to gain further insight into the unique community organising styles and philosophies of each of the organsations involved: IBEKA (Indonesia), Tonibung (Malaysia), REAM (Myanmar), SIBAT and Yamog (the Philippines).


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Introduction

Pico and micro hydro power (P/MHP) systems (defined as systems with a capacity smaller than 100 kW) have huge potential in many remote areas around the world and especially in the humid and hilly regions of South and Southeast Asia. Although micro hydro is well established in several countries in the region, it has yet to reach its full potential.

The needs that are primarily addressed for off-grid communities are electrical services, such as for lighting and communications, as well as productive and agricultural uses such as milling or irrigation. In the current context of high fuel and electricity prices this technology can also play an important role in generating clean electricity in areas that are connected to the national grid, but which suffer from an unreliable electricity supply.

The need to develop a network was highlighted by several organisations working with WISIONS. As a first step a workshop was held in February 2012 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. There were 10 participating organisations, from the Philippines, Thailand, Lao PDR, Sri Lanka, India and Nepal, together with members of the WISIONS team. As a result of the ideas generated during this workshop the Hydro Empowerment Network was formed. For a list of all members, please visit this link. For details on becoming an HPNET member, please follow this link.

Mission & Goals

The Hydro Empowerment Network aims to catalyse the advancement and advocacy of resilient micro hydropower, towards equitable and sustainable development of rural communities in South and Southeast Asia.

The network provides an effective knowledge exchange platform for

  • Technology development and innovation for robust implementation
  • Policy for sustainable impact and scalability
  • Cultivation of local experts, productive uses, and vibrant watersheds

Members aim to transfer knowledge exchange into action, by building the capacity of local change agents for

  • Technology design and dissemination
  • Ground-truthing policy ideas and outputs
  • Bottom-up project sustainability mechanisms

Activities

The network’s activities include collaborative research among members (both regional and country-specific), advocacy and bilateral and multi-lateral in-person exchanges, such as technical capacity-building workshops, practice-to-policy exchanges and network gatherings.

Network Gatherings

The meetings provide the opportunity for members to exchange knowledge and ideas in a face-to-face
setting; to share experiences, gain new insights and build new partnerships, as well as to further develop and strengthen existing ones. The first two gatherings were held in Borneo/Malaysia, 2013 and in Bandung/Indonesia, in 2015, while the third was the first gathering in South Asia, held in Nepal in 2016.


Practice-to-Policy Workshops

HPNET’s practice-to-policy exchanges facilitate practitioners and other MHP multi-actors
to understand common goals in order to advance the sector.

Technical Training Sessions

HPNET members organise different forms of capacity-building sessions to strengthen the skills of local technicians and community organisers, who are often the first point of contact in local communities, e.g. training courses to build local capacity on concrete pico-hydro turbines, electronic load controllers (ELC) and advocacy through the development of multi-media skills (see details of linked SEPS exchanges in the right column).

Online Exchange and Web-Based Knowledge Portal

The different levels of face-to-face exchange are complemented by a network website presenting profiles of the members, members’ online forums and an online library of catalogued micro-hydro documents, multi-media products and a contacts database.

Upcoming Events

Dipti Vaghela will take part in an IRENA side event at UNESCAP SDG7 on 21st February 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Coordination & Support

For the initial three years, the regional coordinator responsible for the network activities was Janathakshan (GTE) Limited, located in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Since 2015, MHP expert Dipti Vaghela (left) has taken over the coordinating role.

The network was initiated and is primarily supported by the WISIONS initiative.