The first Youth Energy Academy (YEA) in Asia was held at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) between 28 October and 2 November 2019 by AIT RRC.AP. The programme was sponsored by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Foundation and convened 28 young participants from 13 countries across Asia, selected from a pool of nearly 800 applicants. The YEA followed participative, non-formal, and empowering methods aimed to equip young leaders from Asia with an overarching understanding, as well as soft and practical skills to help address the climate action, energy access, and other crosscutting sustainable development challenges via community renewable energy solutions. The intensive seven-day programme divided sessions into theoretical mornings, practical afternoons, and informal evenings.
Morning sessions were held in the AIT library and featured interactive presentations, group discussions and practical exercises, case studies, an exhibition by a pico-solar technology enterprise, and a field trip to the Community Learning Centre in Klong 6, Pathum Thani where participants visited a farm integrating solar thermal and biomass energy into their business model. Delivery partners included AIT faculty from the Department of Energy Environment and Climate Change, Yunus Centre AIT, Nexus for Development, Chiangmai University’s Energy Technology for Environment Research Centre, UNESCAP, UNDP Alternative Finance Lab, Harvesting Hope, among others.
Afternoon workshops were held in the AIT Energy Lab, facilitated by the Sustainable Energy Youth Network, where participants learned to design and build solar energy systems following a Do-it-together approach. In under 30 hours, participants learned how to design and build 15 power banks, a solar box cooker, two parabolic solar ovens, a solar dryer, one solar sound system/charging station, a solar water pump, the latter of which was installed in the AIT community farm. Lastly several informal evening sessions included an open documentary screening of “Tomorrow’s Power,” held in the Milton E. Bender Auditorium, and sessions on Design Thinking, Youth Led SDG projects, and the gender dimensions of working in energy.