Australia is partnering with Vanuatu women to access clean and affordable energy through an innovative new business partnership.

A statement released by the Australian High Commission (AHC) yesterday afternoon explained that this is one of seven Off-Grid Renewable Energy Partnerships aiming to support small-scale sustainable energy projects in remote and rural areas across the Pacific and Timor-Leste.

In Vanuatu, Australia is partnering with ActionAid, Women TokTok Tugeta (WITT) Network and PowerWells to empower women from the remote Lawital community of North Tanna to control and access renewable, reliable and sustainable energy to benefit their communities.

Local women will gain training, networks and technology to help the rural and remote communities access safe and reliable energy, replacing kerosene, diesel and candles.

The partnership will provide lighting and device charging systems to 115 households and five community centres in the Lawital community, as well as setting up streetlights in 10 public spaces. It will also include a monthly PayGo payment system.

“Australia is committed to climate action and to delivering reliable and sustainable renewable energy in Vanuatu,” Acting High Commissioner Jon Philp said.

ActionAid Vanuatu Country Manager, Flora Vano said she was excited about the partnership. “In addition to providing power and lighting in a remote part of country, it will empower women to be leaders in their communities,” Ms Vano said.

The Off-Grid Renewable Energy Partnerships are part of Australia’s Pacific Climate Infrastructure Financing Partnership (PCIFP) initiative through the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific’s (AIFFP) climate investments.

Yesterday’s announcement brings the total investment to A$4.3 million (VT340 million) in 10 Off-Grid Renewable Energy Partnerships, across six countries in the Pacific and Timor-Leste. This includes A$2.8 million (VT220 million) by the Australian Government, with the remaining investment by partners through cash or in-kind contributions.