WindEmpowerment was founded at the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal in 2011, by our 18 founding members, many of whom were meeting for the first time. During the event, participants were able to share their experiences with small wind for rural development and make connections with people following similar paths on opposite sides of the globe.
The success of this event resulted in the creation of Wind Empowerment, which lead to the development of our online platform (www.WindEmpowerment.org). Through this platform: an online library has allowed members to share relevant documents; a webinar series has allowed members to present their work in a more engaging format; a discussion forum has allowed members to ask questions to their peers and the R&D corner has co-ordinated technical research between the Netherlands, Tanzania, Greece, Mali and beyond.
However, the Wind Empowerment network is globally dispersed, with our member organisations scattered across 28 different countries. Each group has different experiences, making the collective experience of Wind Empowerment extremely rich. However, the physical distances between members mean that this knowledge is disconnected.
The aim of Wind Empowerment is to collate and disseminate this knowledge for collective progress within the network, which has been partially fulfilled by our online platform. Skype meetings and email exchanges have allowed the executive board to run the association, however, an in person meeting would allow members to interact face to face to discuss their experiences, share practical skills and build lasting relationships in a way that simply is not otherwise possible, even with the array of digital technologies available to us in the modern world.
The aim of the WindEmpowerment conference is to stimulate international exchange between actors working in the field of small wind for rural development. Specifically:
- Strengthen North/South links to allow the resources and expertise of organisations based in the Global North to fuel the development of those in the Global South.
- Foster South/South collaboration to share lessons learned and promote future collaboration.
- Build a global community to facilitate collaboration regardless of geographical location.