Programme for Economic Advancement and Community Empowerment

Program for Economic Advancement and Community Empowerment (PEACE), is a four-year project funded by the European Union. and implemented by the Sarhad Rural Support Program (SRSP). It was launched in 2013 in all districts of Malakand Division, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, namely, Swat, Shangla, Buner, Lower Dir, Upper Dir, Chitral and Malakand Agency.

The Program for Economic Advancement and Community Empowerment (PEACE) is worth € 40 million was signed between the Sarhad Rural Support Program (SRSP) and the European Union (EU). The project runs under the principles of financial sustainability and equitable sharing of benefits for the community for social development purposes.

Under the PEACE project 62% of the funding is used for micro-hydro power units in the project areas. Hydro power stations are under construction where there is no active national grid or where such grid stands disrupted. Communities contributing time and labor, known as “sweat equity”, which creates a sense of ownership and helps sustain the projects. The MHPs are run as a social enterprise and its earnings are in favor of local communities, particularly women. Electricity is generated harnessing the small glacier-meltwater rivers that drop steeply off soaring mountains. The European Union under the PEACE project has funded the Sarhad Rural Support Program (SRSP) to set up 240 micro hydropower plants, in the Malakand Division. In general,

A significant portion of the funds are allocated to the building or restoration of basic infrastructure such as roads, bridges, water channels etc.

Electricity from hydro schemes cuts down the use of wood for cooking, heating and lighting, reducing deforestation which is a huge problem in the region. The hydro schemes also cut greenhouse gas emissions, by virtually eliminating the use of kerosene lighting, cutting the use of diesel generators, and also reducing the use of unsustainable wood. This figure represents 110,000 MWh of electricity generation each year, compared to 0.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide per MWh. This suggests a substantial greenhouse gas saving of around 88,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. Pakistan is only producing 128 out of a potential of 3,100 MW of electricity from small hydropower projects.

In 2015 the Program for Economic Advancement and Community Empowerment (PEACE) project earned the Sarhad Rural Support Program (RSSP) for the Ashden Award for Increasing Energy Access. In 2017 the project attracted the National Award given out by the Energy Globe Award in Pakistan for supplying electricity to off-grid areas.