Looking back, moving forward: SNV’s impact in 2021

Looking back

Throughout 2021, our focus has remained on increasing scale and deepening the partnerships and collaborations essential to generating much-needed impact. By connecting global expertise with local experience and knowledge, we have not only learned from others, but contributed to increasing incomes and access to basic services across 24 countries, and some 216 projects and programmes.

Locally-led solutions, where we are so grateful to work alongside so many outstanding partners, are strengthening institutions and kick-starting markets to help many more communities work their way out of poverty, beyond the timeframe of projects. The projects we lead, contribute to and participate in across Asia, Africa, and Latin America have assisted and enabled millions of people living in poverty to harness better futures for themselves.

By September this year, we had launched 22 new projects, including the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs-funded 10-year Pro-ARIDES programme in the Sahel. We have seen transformation and impact across the globe, such as in Mozambique where more than 300,000 people gained access to electricity services through the BRILHO Energy programme. And, we have also engaged SNV’s expertise, facilitating dialogue through the sharing of evidence-based impact on critical issues, such as during COP26 in Glasgow. The climate crisis, along with the ongoing pandemic, highlights how vital the work of everyone in the development sector is, how much more work there is for us to do, and the need to do that better.

The impact we have seen and the work towards increasing livelihoods and building resilience could not have been done without the dedication and commitment of our colleagues around the world, the partners we work alongside, the donors we continue to build strong relationships with, and all those who participate in our projects.

As we look toward 2022, we will leverage the work that has taken place this year, invest in opportunities for growth, and continue to strengthen our relationships with communities, partners, international organisations and donors.

Key moments for SNV in 2021

Ashden Award: shortlisted for Kakuma Refugee Camp project, Kenya

SNV was longlisted and announced as the runner up for a prestigious Ashden Award in the category of humanitarian energy for our project in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. The Energising Development (EnDev) Market Based Energy Access (MBEA) project has been implemented and run by SNV since 2017, and provides clean, safe and affordable cooking and lighting solutions for refugees and the host community through a market-based approach. In the first year of the project, 7,000 homes gained access to clean cooking and electricity, and 12 new private sector companies were introduced into the market.

COP26: 12 official and side events in Glasgow

Our delegation of SNV colleagues attended the UN’s climate change conference, COP26, in Glasgow and virtually to address and engage on critical climate issues. In addition to hosting and speaking at the UNFCCC event, ‘Addressing financial and capacity barriers for climate resilience in low-to-middle income countries’, we also invited dialogue on a range of topics across 11 other events, including climate resilient agriculture, bridging science policy dialogue on climate and food, results-based financing, and gender and climate. Read more information about the events we participated in.

Supporting young people through our work

In continuing our investment in the next generation, we hosted our second youth conference in Ethiopia this year, bringing together more than 200 participants from around the world. Young entrepreneurs shared stories of success and challenges in an effort to communicate learnings for future projects. We also hosted the Boosting Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunities in Ghana (GrEEn) project Business Plan Competition, which is run annually and is aimed at supporting entrepreneurs and businesses with outstanding, innovative green business ideas.

Programme highlights in 2021

With our work in agriculture we have continued to scale up the use of digital solutions to build climate resilience and increase incomes. And our project to enhance food security in Mali and Burkina Faso through mobile access to information was recognised when our implementing partner, The Netherlands Space Office, was awarded the Geneva-based Group on Earth Observations Award in the Innovation category in November.

We continued to link youth to sustainable employment opportunities through a market-based approach, which to date has helped at least 70,000 young people across 13 projects and 10 countries. We also published our learnings and recommendations based on the Enhancing Nutrition of Upland Farming Families (ENUFF) project in Lao PDR in a brief: Nutrition-sensitive agriculture for improved dietary diversity.

In 2021 we became an associate member of GOGLA, the global association for the off-grid solar energy industry, which has a goal to power one billion lives by 2030. We also launched the Sustainable Energy for Smallholder Farmers project at the Vienna Energy Forum, which aims to incorporate solar irrigation and cooling to increase productivity, nutrition, incomes, and climate resilience of local farmers and businesses.

We have continued to drive impact through the facilitation of key discussions around the productive use of energy, by improving access to innovative finance to build sustainable and local energy markets, as well as recognising the importance of and building upon the energy-agriculture nexus. We published a well-received and widely-recognised whitepaper and educational video alongside SunFunder on results-based financing and creating pathways to access investments: Why localisation matters for financing off-grid energy, as well as multiple reports on the productive use of energy.

We’ve also focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Group’s value of ‘leave no one behind’. In working locally, SNV established mechanisms for communities’ water systems to adapt to climate shocks, provided expertise on the subject of urban sanitation and climate change investments, and demonstrated gender transformative leadership in WASH promotion and COVID-19 prevention.

In continuing our work on advancing citywide sanitation, we launched a publication, Treatment technologies in practice: On-the-ground experiences of faecal sludge and wastewater treatment, that reflects on decision-making processes in the selection of faecal sludge and wastewater treatment technologies and their operation and maintenance. We also elevated the need for increased sector attention on the state of containments and sanitation workers rights.

Looking ahead

So, as we close out 2021 and look towards the year ahead, it is with a sense of renewed purpose, commitment, and dedication to ensure that we deliver impact at greater scale, where it is needed most.