Prashanth Vishwanathan/IWMI

Accelerating clean energy access in rural areas

Research to resilience: Climate-smart solutions to enhance ecosystem health and strengthen food, nutrition and water security for all

How do we make renewable energy more accessible and affordable to farmers in the Global South? And how do we ensure that green technologies reach the world’s most vulnerable and food insecure populations, including women and youth?

‘Accelerating clean energy access in rural areas’ began WLE’s ‘Research to resilience’ webinar series with a lively and engaging discussion of renewable energy and climate resilience. The hour-long session saw a diverse range of actors from research and government exchange their knowledge and perspectives on the institutional, technical and economic challenges of making renewable energy more accessible, including:

  • The role that CGIAR’s research on energy can play to support food systems transformation and address rapidly growing climate change impacts on vulnerable and food insecure populations
  • Where ‘One CGIAR’ should focus its energy research to transform food, land and water systems in a climate crisis
  • How funders and policymakers can ensure energy research becomes more applicable to real world problems
  • The importance of involving women and youth in renewable energy projects, and the need to use gender-inclusive investment models for scaling energy innovations
  • The potential for solar-powered irrigation expansion in Africa and Asia, and the importance of ensuring its sustainability.

A discussion moderated by the World Bank’s Petra Schmitter gave the webinar’s panelists the opportunity to comment on these issues and to answer questions from the audience.

Speakers and Panelists

Opening remarks

Dr Claudia Ringler, Deputy Program Director, WLE (IFPRI)

  • Dr Shilp Verma, Senior Researcher, Water-Energy – Food Policies, IWMI
  • Dr Dawit Mekonnen, Research Fellow, Environment and Production Technology Division, IFPRI
  • Dr Ku McMahan, Team Lead, Water and Energy for Food Grand Challenge, USAID
  • Dr Jyotsna Puri, Associate Vice-President, Strategy and Knowledge Department, IFAD
  • HE Dr Frehiwot Woldehanna, State Minister, Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Ethiopia

Dr Petra Schmitter, Senior Irrigation Specialist, World Bank

Closing remarks

Ms Simi Kamal, Chairperson and CEO, Hisaar Foundation



Accelerating rural energy access in Ethiopia: with a focus on productive uses (Dr Dawit Mekonnen, IFPRI)

Solar-led trajectories for food system transformation (Dr Shilp Verma, IWMI)



View the full 'From Research to Resilience' webinar series