"EncASa" programme brings electricity, water, sanitation and safe cook stoves to isolated households in Oaxaca (Mexico)

26/04/2018
  • We join the Oaxaca State Government and the Spanish and Mexican cooperation agencies (AECID and AMEXCID, respectively) in a ground-breaking initiative to ensure comprehensive access to basic services for households in disadvantaged rural areas in Mexico.

Through a Public-Private Partnership for Development, implemented under the Mexico-Spain Technical and Scientific Cooperation Fund, the ACCIONA Microenergia Foundation, ACCIONA Microenergia Mexico, the Oaxaca State Government (through SINFRA, its Infrastructure and Sustainable Territorial Planning Secretariat), and the Spanish and Mexican Agencies for International Development Cooperation (AECID and AMEXCID) have launched the EncASa Oaxaca 2018 project, through which they will provide basic electricity, drinking water, sanitation and safe cook stoves to rural communities in Oaxaca state (Mexico) where these services did not exist or were not very reliable until now.

The EncASa programme will provide access to electricity to 1,000 households using third-generation solar home systems, continuing the electrification activity of the Luz en Casa Oaxaca programme, which, since 2012, has provided electricity to more than 7,500 households in rural areas in the region that have no prospect of being connected to the electricity grid.

For the other services, the ACCIONA Microenergia Foundation is developing technically and economically sustainable systems that are adapted to the relief, climate and customs of the rural communities in the state of Oaxaca. These models will be first tested in a pilot project that will provide electricity, as well as access to drinking water, sanitation and safe cook stoves to at least 50 families in villages with population less than 500. These services will be provided on an individual or community basis, depending on recipients' needs.

Regarding water and sanitation, the systems will be adapted to local rainfall levels (arid, semiarid or humid) by combining various supply technologies (rainwater harvesting, wells with manual or solar pumps, and natural springs) with filtration or chlorination systems for water purification; the supply will be at community or individual house level, depending on the situation. Regarding sanitation, each household will receive a dry or wet biodigester toilet, depending on the community.

Safe cook stoves will involve a biomass-fired cooker with an external chimney, which will avoid smoke poisoning and accidental fires, which are among the main causes of female mortality in the region; this approach will also reduce firewood consumption.

The Foundation not only provides a technically sustainable solution but also designs an economic affordability model based on financing users' access to the various facilities (provided by the partners in the Public-Private Partnership for Development) and on payment of affordable maintenance fees.

Additionally, based on the network of Centros Luz en Casa created by ACCIONA Microenergia to maintain the solar home systems in its rural electrification programmes, a local micro-entrepreneurs network will be created and will be advised and trained specifically to take charge of the proper operation of the drinking water, sanitation, cooking and electricity facilities.

Context

There are 1 billion people in the world today without electricity, 600 million people without access to drinking water, 2 billion people with no sanitation infrastructure, and 3 billion people using unsafe cooking methods.

This lack of basic services generally causes health problems, such as diarrhoea from drinking contaminated water and respiratory and eye diseases caused by the smoke generated by unsafe lighting and cooking methods. Drinking contaminated water causes almost 2 million deaths by diarrhoeal disease every year. Lighting, heating and cooking by burning materials such as charcoal, animal dung, kerosene or firewood without proper ventilation cause more than 4 million deaths every year.

In the state of Oaxaca, 25% of households do not have proper sanitation facilities, 12.6% have no access to drinking water, 3.1% do not have electricity and more than 40% use firewood or charcoal stoves without a chimney.

By adopting the philosophy of the ACCIONA Microenergia Foundation, the EncASa programme will provide economically, technically and environmentally sustainable basic services at the base of the pyramid.

ACCIONA Microenergia Foundation is an initiative of the ACCIONA group, a Spanish global leader in implementing renewable energies and infrastructures and end-to-end water management.

In Mexico, ACCIONA Microenergia has implemented the "Luz en Casa" programme in Oaxaca, providing electricity to more than 7,500 households under a public-private partnership with the Oaxaca State Government, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and its Mexican counterpart (AMEXCID).

ACCIONA Microenergia is also present in Peru since 2009, undertaking electrification projects in rural areas such as the "Luz en Casa" project, which has benefited 3,900 low-income households (about 16,000 people in 115 rural communities in the Cajamarca region) as well as community centres (schools, churches, health centres and other community buildings). Currently, it also runs the Luz en Casa Amazonia programme, which is bringing electricity to communities in the Napo River Basin (a tributary of the Amazon), and has plans to replicate the model in other areas of the Amazon region.