Attendees of last week’s Society for International Development-United States (SID-US) annual conference recognized the USAID Lebanon Community Support Program (CSP) for their innovative approach to using affordable, renewable energy to solve the gap in the delivery of critical public services. The award was announced as part of SID-US’s annual innovation competition.
CSP’s submission “Solar Solutions to Counter the Collapse of Essential Services” received the popular vote and praise for its ability to support municipalities with sustainable solar solutions for services like water, street lighting, and household electricity. CSP also helped bring this solar energy approach to the agricultural sector to power a seedling nursery and farm equipment. CSP’s interventions include strengthening the delivery of essential services and improving economic opportunities in underserved and vulnerable communities. By doing so, CSP reduces stresses arising from numerous conflicts in Lebanon’s North, South, and Beqaa governorates.
The video presented by CSP showcases the project’s sustainable model for solar farms and highlights the impact these types of interventions have on improving people’s lives by powering critical public services via reliable access to energy sources. As noted by Bilal Al Ayoubi, CSP’s Task Order 2 director, “…The increase in hours of electricity is around 300% from two hours to eight hours,” representing a significant increase.
Additionally, Mr. Al Ayoubi stated that “… [the solutions] will reach over 310,000 residents across the country. We know that the CO2 emissions will decrease, of course, and there will be the likelihood of reducing tensions in the communities, especially host communities of Syrian refugees.”
In response to the award, Lauren Behr, senior advisor for Innovation & Investment said, “Chemonics is incredibly proud of the Lebanon CSP team — not just for their innovative use of solar farms to enable public services — but also for their dedication under extremely challenging circumstances to find a sustainable, scalable, and life-changing solution for hundreds of thousands of Lebanese residents.”
This win marks the third year in a row that Chemonics-implemented projects won a top award from SID-US’s annual Innovation Competition. In 2020, Chemonics won three innovation awards: the “Best in Show” award for the Syria Injaz II program’s promotion of remote learning in internally displaced persons camps using an intranet system; the “Planet Track” award for the Ukraine Agriculture Growing Rural Opportunities (AGRO) activity’s Smart Pollination and Plant Protection services using honey bees; and the “People Track” award for USAID’s Human Resources for Health 2030 program’s mental health app, Vitalk, developed by a grantee to promote resiliency in health care workers in Brazil. Additionally, last year, Chemonics’ AGRO activity also won the “Judges’ Choice” award for its Vkursi Zemli platform, which simplifies, accelerates, and improves access to funding for Ukrainian farmers.