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GVEP International in East Africa

29/05/2008

Georgia Berry, Communications Officer for GVEP International, reports back on the Partner workshops.

Launching a new programme of activities in East Africa, GVEP International Team members were in Uganda and Kampala in March to meet with some GVEP Partners, as well as others who are new to the organisation.

Having just joined GVEP International in October last year, this was my first opportunity to meet GVEP Partners on the ground and I was very pleased to see many different stakeholders actively participating in the workshops, including suppliers, micro-lenders, SMEs, project implementers, NGOs, donors and government representatives.

Shortly afterwards, Onyango Joseph from the Rayland Rural Development Organisation wrote to me:

"It was quite a wonderful moment for me to meet everyone in the last GVEP International meeting in Kampala. I learnt many things and met new

friends, this is great."

The meetings enabled us to highlight GVEP International's new products and services that will be rolled out over the next few years. We also
focused on Monitoring and Evaluation, which will be central to our activities, and we engaged our partners in discussions on climate change, to ensure that our position and efforts are aligned with GVEP Partners on the ground. A major point which emerged was that:

"Most people aren't interested in being told to plant trees, when they don't have any money to eat. We cannot split the climate change issues from economy."

GVEP Partners were invited to make short presentations describing their organisations and inspiring lively debate on issues such as micro-credit for energy enterprises in rural villages. Chris Sserunkuma from DFCU Bank had to answer questions such as:

"Have you looked at the big obstacle of people not being able to pay, either due to cultural reasons or because they simply have no money?"

He replied:

"We interview all perspective customers to ensure that the loans are viable for them. We also employ consultants who teach people through seminars about the business of taking loans, and the risks involved."

We were also grateful to have very interesting presentations given by our regionally located GAPFund project partners, TaTEDO (Tanzania), WODSTA (Tanzania), Solar Cookers (Kenya), and the GAIA Foundation (Zambia). All of the presentations from the day can be found here as well as the agenda.

Above all, the meetings reached their objective of collecting input from Partners as to how they feel GVEP International could be most effective in East Africa and globally - a big thank you to all those who made the time to attend! If anyone who attended the meetings has photos or more comments we can post on this page, please send them to info@gvep.org