New WRI Project to Bring Clean Electricity to 1 Million People in India and East Africa

A renewable energy programme funded by the IKEA Foundation in Belgaum, Karnataka.

WASHINGTON (May 23, 2018)— World Resources Institute (WRI) announced a $2.3 million grant from the IKEA Foundation to bring clean electricity to a combined 1 million people in India and East Africa. The funding will help integrate affordable, reliable and clean electricity for all – an inaccessibility for more than 1.1 billion people worldwide.

Many critical services such as schools, medical clinics, and agricultural facilities in rural areas of India and East Africa are currently off the electricity grid. With the IKEA Foundation’s grant, WRI will identify development organizations working locally in three key sectors—education, health and agriculture—where expanding electricity service has important development impacts, such as extending their operating hours, educating more students and reducing food waste.

“Our work with the IKEA Foundation is exciting because it’s changing the historically supply-driven energy model into one that is instead user-centric, and most importantly, inclusive,” said Davida Wood, Energy Access & Governance Lead at World Resources Institute. “What makes this project different is that it enables development service organizations to drive the market for clean energy. This user-focused approach will be critical to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, and will truly serve the needs of those without energy access.”

IKEA Foundation funding will enable three components of the project: making the demand for electricity visible through maps, building partnerships to link development facilities to clean and affordable electricity, and mobilizing finance at scale. The project will target entrepreneurial opportunities to raise $8 million in investment finance for the chosen development organizations to scale renewable energy infrastructure.

“We have to use big data to map out the energy needs of vulnerable communities and we need to ensure that clean energy efforts are well-coordinated and user-driven, and that no one is left behind,” said Jeff Prins, Head of Portfolio at the IKEA Foundation. “This is what we are trying to achieve with this new partnership.”

Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 will ensure universal access to affordable electricity by 2030, which requires investment in clean energy sources. By engaging with users directly, this project assesses electricity needs using data from the demand side, enabling knowledge-sharing that can take solutions to scale.

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About World Resources Institute

WRI is a global research organization that spans more than 50 countries, with offices in the United States, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Mexico and more. Our more than 700 experts and staff work closely with leaders to turn big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. More information at

About IKEA Foundation

The IKEA Foundation (Stichting IKEA Foundation) is the philanthropic arm of INGKA Foundation, the owner of the IKEA Group of companies. The IKEA Foundation aims to improve opportunities for children and youth in some of the world’s poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. The IKEA Foundation works with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child’s life: a place to call home; a healthy start in life; a quality education; and a sustainable family income, while helping these communities fight and cope with climate change.

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