Around one third of all energy generated is used to produce food and to transport it from the field to our plates. As the global population expands, so too does our demand for energy. And yet millions of farmers and processors in poor countries have no access to clean energy to irrigate, dry, refrigerate or store their produce. Implemented on the German side by GIZ, on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the international PAEGC initiative (Powering Agriculture – An Energy Grand Challenge For Development) seeks to raise awareness of the issue and find solutions. To reach as many people as possible, GIZ and AIZ are organising a series of specially developed MOOCs (massive open online courses) – most recently in the Caribbean.
In collaboration with Cologne’s University of Applied Sciences, GIZ and AIZ developed an 8-week MOOC entitled Clean Energy for Food. It was piloted in early 2016 and proved a success. Based on this, AIZ then worked with the REETA project (Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance) to design a special MOOC for the Caribbean, designated CaribOOC. This open online course is intended to raise awareness among Caribbean people from various sectors of industry of the importance of addressing the issue of ‘clean energy for food’. It also offers innovative technical knowledge and business models embracing all aspects of the clean energy sector in the Caribbean. CaribOOC seeks to strengthen the Caribbean network within the pertinent sectors by bringing together the various participating institutions, researchers and entrepreneurs. This encourages all Caribbean countries to share ideas and experience, which are urgently needed, as well as fostering a discussion of common solutions and facilitating future cooperation.
The role of AIZ
AIZ played a major part in designing the CaribOOC platform and was responsible for the technical set-up. It advised the project on community management, course evaluation and the latest teaching methodologies for digital training formats.
In partnership with AIZ, REETA successfully launched a MOOC on agriculture and clean energy under the name CaribOOC, which was specifically tailored to address the challenges facing the Caribbean region. A total of 60 students took part in the pilot course in 2017. The online training course is designed to accommodate over 1,000 participants per course. Both donors (e.g. UNIDO) and partners have expressed interest in repeating the course.