Building Rural Community Buy-in for Renewable Energy

Speeches Shim

USAID supports community engagement in Colombia, particularly with Indigenous Peoples, to help ensure they benefit from renewable energy projects and are meaningfully engaged as climate change agents.

Renewable energy can increase private investment, economic growth, jobs, and access to clean, reliable, and affordable electricity. With help from the Scaling Up Renewable Energy program, USAID supports the Government of Colombia’s efforts to ensure that traditionally marginalized groups in Colombia also benefit from renewable energy.

Northeastern Colombia’s Guajira region has one of the highest sustained wind speeds in the world. Guajira is rich in cultural diversity with a large population of Wayuu people who have their own language, customs, and tribal courts. Guajira also has some of the highest poverty rates in Colombia and a lack of jobs and educational opportunities.

The Government of Colombia, in partnership with USAID, is engaging local communities in Guajira, especially the Indigenous Wayuu and other marginalized groups who are often excluded from decision-making, policymaking, funding, and benefit-sharing.

Darlin Rodriguez, an engineer who grew up in southern Guajira, works with the Guajira Governor’s Office on energy projects and engages with the private sector companies responsible for building new renewable energy projects. He also engages the local communities to improve communication, trust, and buy-in for these infrastructure investments. 

Working with USAID, Mr. Rodriquez and the Governor’s Office are helping to design and implement a local workforce capacity-building plan through Colombia’s regional technological training institute (SENA). SENA is a government initiative developing vocational training programs to increase employment and strengthen the competitiveness of Colombia's enterprises.

The training program is designed to be delivered in phases, starting with an introductory course on renewable energy and the energy transition taking place in Colombia. The training will also cover topics on the environment and climate change and will be tailored to the community’s local language. Each student will have the option to select a training module to gain specific knowledge in topics of interest. At the completion of the training, participants will be nationally certified to help build and manage the future fleet of renewable energy projects.

For More Information

Inspection engineers standing on top of a wind turbine
USAID is helping Colombia diversify its energy mix with renewable energy while combating climate change, lowering electricity costs, creating local jobs, and promoting gender equality in the energy sector.
© Pugun & Photo Studio / Adobe Stock

2018–ONGOING, COLOMBIA – USAID is helping Colombia diversify its energy mix with renewable energy while combating climate change, lowering electricity costs, creating local jobs, and promoting gender equality in the energy sector.

USAID Colombia

USAID supports government and citizen efforts in Colombia to promote economic prosperity through the licit economy; improve the living conditions of victims of violence and vulnerable groups, including Afro-Colombians and indigenous peoples; promote respect for human rights and rule of law; and address climate change and environmental issues in one of the most ecologically diverse countries in the world.

Mother holding her son in nature. Wind turbines in the background.
Through the Scaling Up Renewable Energy program, USAID helps partner countries power economies with renewable energy, meet international climate commitments, and open markets to private investment and competition.
© Viktor Pravdica / Adobe Stock

2017–ONGOING, GLOBAL – USAID’s Scaling Up Renewable Energy (SURE) program helps partner countries meet bold climate commitments by accelerating their transition to more affordable, reliable, and accessible energy that spurs growth, powers health systems, and reduces emissions.

Through SURE, USAID provides a variety of services to help policymakers, utilities, and regulators plan, procure, and integrate renewable energy, modernize energy sectors, and create policies that enable sustainable energy markets to flourish. As more countries aim to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and reduce hazardous waste, SURE’s Innovation Fund supports clean energy technology, energy efficiency innovation, and a circular economy for renewable energy equipment.

Thursday, December 9, 2021 - 12:00pm

Last updated: July 24, 2022