Geothermal Village: A field trip to understand communities' needs and expectations

Geothermal Village: A field trip to understand communities’ needs and expectations

Geothermal Village: A field trip to understand communities' needs and expectations

From 7 to 15 November 2022, a team of Social Scientists from the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, the University of Turin and Géo2D conducted field research in the territory of Homa Hills, Kenya, in the context of the Geothermal Village project, one of the projects within the LEAP-RE Portfolio. Geothermal Village aims to introduce geothermal-based stand-alone electric and thermal energy systems to off-grid African communities, and works especially in Kenya, Djibouti, Rwanda and Ethiopia.

The main objective of this field trip in the Homa Hills, in addition to increasing knowledge and awareness of the project, was to understand what are the social needs and expectations that the Geothermal Village project should respond to.

Five focus group discussions in five different locations were held, as well as in-depth interviews with members of the local communities, the Geothermal Community-Based Organization and the representatives of different types of stakeholders potentially benefiting from or affected by the project. This fieldwork will be followed by a second phase of interviews with private counterparts.

This first data collection step, which will be repeated in Djibouti and Rwanda (and hopefully in Ethiopia) will make it possible to structure a Geothermal Village management model capable of maximizing the social, economic and environmental benefits of the project. This comes in addition to previous field trips in the region to sample geothermal waters, gas and rocks and in the subsurface imaging below the geothermal springs.

The LEAP-RE consortium gathers 83 African and European partners covering a wide range of sectors: education/research, private sector, policy and funding. Together, they are building a long-term partnership of African and European stakeholders committed to fostering research and innovation for the development of renewable energy.

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