This program has ended

The Lab aims to build an energy system that is sustainable and people-centered. It connects citizens (consumers, producers, sellers) with pioneers and changemakers to share ideas, gather evidence and develop models for sector change.

Why the lab works in Tanzania

Tanzania’s energy sector is in transition, with promising developments in energy financing, policy, and entrepreneurship. But there is much more investment in the grid and fossil fuels than in providing energy in remote areas and expanding decentralized models. Hivos wants to ensure this transition will deliver reliable renewable energy, jobs and business opportunities without threatening the environment. And we want to see investment of new gas revenues for the public good.

How a lab like this operates

That’s why Hivos and IIED Energy Change Lab started in 2015. The lab is an open space, hub or platform for local stakeholders in and outside the energy sector. Here they can find ways to increase job creation in the energy sector and broaden decentralized energy distribution. This involves creative thinking, innovative approaches and new business models. The lab also offers  programs for young people to help them capitalize on the energy transition’s opportunities. Finally, the Lab conducts research to build evidence and support its prototyping work. It shares these findings to benefit sector-wide learning and stimulate dialogue in energy forums in Tanzania and globally.


Tanzania and globally

Results so far

The Lab has run successful leadership and problem-solving workshops called ‘Energy Safaris’ in which some 70 young Tanzanians participated. From a handful of proposals coming out of the Energy Safari, one has turned into a successful company and another is currently underway. In Dar es Salaam, the Lab successfully piloted the Electricity Supply Monitoring Initiative (ESMI). It displays live voltage supply levels in different neighborhoods, giving citizens oversight in order to improve feedback mechanisms between energy providers and consumers. In rural areas, the Lab is working with mini-grid companies, government, financing institutions and CSOs to practical guidelines for productive uses of energy (PUE) in recently connected villages.

Period and budget

2016-2020, € 800.000


The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED, founding partner), Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (donor), Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (donor), World Resources Institute (donor), International Growth Institute, Tanzanian Renewable Energy Association (TAREA), Ensol Tanzania Ltd., Buni Innovation Hub, Rafiki Power, Power Corner, MicroEnergy International