Hydropower project to provide significant access to electricity for rural communities
Pakistan, May, 2013– Acumen, a pioneering non-profit global venture firm addressing poverty across Africa and in South Asia, today announced its first investment in the growing rural energy sector of Pakistan. Acumen is giving a loan of Rs. 86 Million to Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) to support the creation of four community managed micro-hydro units in Chitral district of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province in Pakistan. These plants will provide 24-hour clean electricity to remote off-grid communities in Chitral district, a region with limited access to electricity.
“There is a growing need for reliable power in Pakistan’s rural communities right now,” said Farrukh H. Khan, Pakistan Country Director, Acumen. “AKSRP’s community-based model has the potential to provide millions with access to an important basic service and revolutionize the way poor Pakistanis access energy.”
Acumen and AKRSP have joined hands to address the pressing energy needs of isolated rural communities in Chitral who are currently not connected to the national grid. Households living in the off-grid villages rely heavily on fuel wood and fossil fuels to meet their daily energy needs, thus adding to environmental fragility. Innovative private and community-based models of energy generation from clean sources can help address the energy crisis in such remote and underserved regions.
“We work very closely with the local communities to generate energy that is clean, affordable and reliable. The ultimate objective is to improve the quality of life of local communities by making energy available for small-scale commercial and household uses without burdening precious natural resources such as forests”, said Abdul Malik, CEO of AKRSP. “Acumen Fund’s investment will help local communities overcome the capital constraints and combine their own resources to provide reliable electricity to thousands of their members”.
The investment in four micro-hydro units will provide an opportunity to test and demonstrate the viability of investments in off-grid community-based models, paving the path for scaling-up through replication.
For additional information on Acumen Pakistan and its investment in AKRSP or in the Energy sector, please visit www.localhost or contact Saima Iritiza at siritiza@localhost or Elizabeth Patella at epatella@localhost.
Acumen is working to create a world beyond poverty by investing in social enterprises, emerging leaders and breakthrough ideas. We invest patient capital in business models that deliver critical goods and services to the world’s poor, improving the lives of millions. Since 2001, Acumen has globally invested more than $83 million in 72 companies. We are also working to build a global community of emerging leaders that believe in creating a more inclusive world through the tools of both business and philanthropy. Please visit www.localhost for more information.
AKRSP, a project of the Aga Khan Foundation, is a pioneer of participatory development approaches in Pakistan. Established in 1982 as a not-for-profit company under the Companies Ordinance, AKRSP has been working with the rural communities in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral regions of Pakistan to build their institutional capacity to plan and manage their own development. AKRSP’s work includes fostering communities’ own institutions (village and women organizations and their umbrella Local Support Organizations), small-scale infrastructure development (including energy projects), agriculture development, youth development, and cross-cutting initiatives aimed at reaching out to poor, women and other marginalized groups.