By retrofitting and repairing homes of the most vulnerable families, World Vision Romania will help lift 90 households with at-risk children out of energy poverty.
In Romania, more than 40% of the population is at risk of poverty and 29% face extreme material deprivation, generally defined as the inability to afford basic resources and services such as food and heating. This is reflected in poor housing quality and limited access to sanitation as well as safe cooking and heating. In rural areas, lack of insulation leaves many homes inadequately heated and makes it difficult or impossible for vulnerable families to purchase sufficient fuel for the whole winter. Cold temperatures combined with indoor pollution from soot and smoke from indoor fires often lead to respiratory illnesses, particularly among children living in poverty.
To combat the root causes of energy poverty and its effects, World Vision Romania has created its “Winterization” project to address immediate needs and provide long-term solutions. During the three-year project implementation, 90 families with children classified as ‘most vulnerable’ will receive direct assistance based on their individual needs, which could include repairs or endowments of new heating stoves, windows, chimneys or doors.
Of the 90 households selected, 45 will also participate in information sessions on household energy management, including proper usage of stoves and heating practices during winter. These same households will also be supported with firewood for the winter.
With an eye to eliminating the root causes of energy poverty over the long term, 30 youth will participate in vocational training in jobs that support rural household improvement and maintenance, such as stove maker, chimney maker, carpenter or home insulator. This training will improve future opportunities for youth while also supporting household maintenance in their communities, ultimately improving conditions for all.
During the mentoring period, the organisation aims to improve their technical expertise in energy poverty solutions as well as marketing, project management and long-term sustainability. World Vision Romania hopes to extend the project nationally; in parallel, it is being developed in two other countries: Armenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
World Vision Romania is one of 15 finalists in the 2019 Social Innovation to Tackle Energy Poverty Initiative, launched by the Schneider Electric Foundation, Enel, and the Ashoka Foundations of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania.