Press Release

Press Release

Vienna, 28 March 2008 - A novel inter-agency multifunctional platform programme (MFP) has been recently launched in Senegal with the financial support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The MFP is a national / subregional programme based in Senegal. It aims to bring energy to the poorest rural areas and thus contributes to poverty alleviation and increasing the quality of life.

A village enterprise - the Multifunctional-Platform: more time and more income
for rural women and higher levels of schooling for girls
Using a simple diesel engine, rural people, particularly women, can now have access to affordable, simple and modern energy services. This improved access saves time and effort that can be devoted to income-generating activities, education, health and childcare.

Such platforms, created on a demonstration basis, were originally implemented in the 1990s in Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso with the support of UNIDO. Between 2002 and 2005, UNIDO implemented a UNDP project The Multi-Functional Platform, MFP, for Poverty Alleviation. Within the pilot phase of the project in Senegal, UNIDO installed 40 Multi-Functional Platforms and trained more than 200 people in promoting their productive use. It has also ensured regular technical and management monitoring of the project. The platforms, mainly owned and managed by women, have provided an appropriate solution to energy constraints in rural areas. UNIDO greatly appreciates the breakthrough in funding and up-scaling of this new programme.

The new programme aims to install some 500 platforms, for around 500,000 rural beneficiaries. UNIDO has been invited to participate in the formulation of a new project called Empowering rural communities to realize a minimum standard of living, with focus on reproductive health, together with the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

Along with UNDP, and with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNIDO proposes to provide assistance in the redesign of the platform, using renewable energies. This would, at the same time, promote the role of the private sector in Senegal. UNIDO, as a technical partner, would be responsible for the manufacturing and technical components of the projects for promoting local manufacturing capacities needed for food production and other sectors such as medicinal plants and cosmetics. UNIDO is prepared to offer its expertise to further develop and implement this valuable project.