The successful implementation of the European Union-funded project,  “Improving the Lives of People in Off-grid Communities in Mindanao through the Provision of Sustainable Energy. (I-POSE)” by Yamog Renewable Energy Development Group, Inc., a Davao-based NGO,  has provided electricity  to 4,331 households in off-grid communities in Mindanao. At a total project cost of EUR 3,786,730.05, this new milestone was reached after the complete installation of  3,073 solar home lighting  and 5 micro-hydropower systems in 5 provinces, 7 municipalities and 116 sitios in Mindanao

Using 50-wattpeak solar home lighting systems and micro-hydropower systems that produce energy outputs of up to 30 kilowatts, electricity has become a reality for residents in 116 geographically isolated and economically depressed sitios in 26 Barangays in the Municipalities of Don Marcelino (Davao Occidental), Arakan (North Cotabato), Kapalong and Talaingod (Davao del Norte), Pantukan (Davao de Oro), and Picong (Lanao del Sur-BARMM).

According to Ma. Annabelle S. Jabla, Deputy Project Manager for Finance and Administration – the EU-ASEP covered  80 percent of the total project cost amounting to EUR 3,025,679.82. A third-party contribution amounting to EUR 420,000 from KZE-Germany was made possible through the help of  Misereor, the German Catholic Bishops’ Organization for Development Cooperation. Local cash counterparts totaling an equivalent of  EUR 341,050.23 were also provided by the Provincial Local Government of Davao del Norte, the Municipal Local Government Units of Arakan, Kapalong, Don Marcelino, Pantukan, and Yamog Renewable Energy Development Group, Inc.

Other accomplishments of the Project include: 1). Capacity building for 1,897 beneficiaries in the field of Organizational Building, Gender Mainstreaming, Leadership and Conflict Management, Financial Management, Basic Electricity & Household Wiring, Operation & Maintenance, Watershed Protection & Conservation, 2). Development of a strong sense of community participation in nurturing their watersheds resulting in the protection of a combined area of 1,560 hectares in the Municipalities of Don Marcelino, Arakan, Kapalong, Pantukan,  and Picong where the micro-hydropower systems are in place, 3). Establishment of a solar-powered Level 2 potable water system benefiting 86 Ubo-Manobo households in Sitio Lubas, Brgy. Amabel, Magpet, North Cotabato, 4) Installation of solar-powered village trail lamps in Sitios Mundol and Mambago, Brgy. Gupitan, Kapalong, Davao del Norte, 5). Establishment of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Technologies (ReSET) Center to help ensure the sustainable operation, maintenance and troubleshooting of the community renewable energy systems, and to encourage technology sharing through research and trainings.

Access to clean energy has resulted in a significant decrease in carbon dioxide emissions in all the communities assisted by the project where kerosene used to be the main source of energy for household lighting. This has also led to the generation of cash savings as beneficiaries shy away from the practice of buying kerosene which is becoming more expensive. The micro-hydropower systems in Don Marcelino, Arakan and Picong are capable of driving small post-harvest facilities like corn mills/shellers, abaca strippers, coffee mills, feed mills, and the like. Moreover, access to electricity has brought forth a conducive learning and teaching environment for school children and teachers.

A   total of 55 Energy Users Associations have been organized by Yamog across the 116 off-grid communities that it has served over the last four years of project implementation. Consequently, these social formations have metamorphosed to become a federation with the aim of sustaining the initial gains and undertaking more initiatives to push for a clean, renewable and sustainable energy transition in Mindanao.

Yamog’s renewable energy development thrust under the EU-Access to Sustainable Energy Programme  is in keeping with the Philippine Government’s  commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals which include the promotion of the use of renewable energy against the backdrop of worsening problems like global warming, climate change and mass poverty.