UNDP's Multifunctional Platform Engine provides rural access to energy and empowers Burkinabe women in Burkino Faso, May 2010. UNDP has helped to install 441 diesel-run generators mounted on a chassis to which a variety of processing equipment can be attached, including mills, alternators and battery chargers. By easing some of the women’s most difficult and time-consuming chores, such as fetching water, grinding and milling, the scheme has helped to free up a daily average of two to four hours for these women, which they have been able to spend on education, childcare, improving their health and generating additional sources of revenue.
In reducing the time required for processing agricultural outputs, women farmers have also had less need for their daughters to help with household tasks, resulting in increased school attendance. An evaluation conducted in 14 villages in the Eastern region of Burkina Faso shows that the literacy rate has risen from an average of 29 percent to 39 percent after the installation of the generators. Recognizing the results, the Government of Burkina Faso has already signed on to scale up the programme to the national level. The programme is also active in Mali and Senegal and six other countries in West Africa – Bénin, Ghana, Guinea, Mauritania, Niger and Togo have introduced their own pilot versions of the programme. The Multifunctional Platform uses a diesel engine designed by an Indian manufacturer, which runs on diesel, bio-diesel or vegetable oil, and powers mechanized tools such as cereal grinding mills, oil presses, and carpentry equipment. It can also provide electricity for water pumps or a small lighting grid. The simple addition of lighting, for example, allows households to be productive at night. Photo: Giacomo Pirozzi/UNDP, 2010