Pierre N. Hauser & Abigail E. Disney's Focus Area: Civil Society Strengthening, Gender / Women's Rights, Energy and Environment
Pierre N. Hauser & Abigail E. Disney's Involvement: The Pierre N. Hauser & Abigail E. Disney’s interest in Liberia developed because of the Founder’s personal philanthropy in the country, specifically on women and girls and their access to education. Because of the effective outcomes seen through the Founder’s giving, the foundation felt its investment in the country might also help Liberia’s people recover from war and rebuild their cities and towns.
Historically, the foundation’s focus has been on the causes and consequences of poverty. A major underpinning of poverty includes a lack of access to basic needs and services such as water, electricity and health care. The foundation decided to focus its investments on creating alternative sources of energy to improve access to these services. The country’s indigenous assets include highly accessible and abundant sources of sun, water and biomass. The foundation envisioned helping the country tap those resources to produce energy from within, for its own citizenry. Additionally, the foundation understood the influence of the market in sustained development and therefore wanted to uncover opportunities for combing the two elements to create what it hopes will be replicable projects for generating basic needs, economic stability, human capacity and ultimately poverty reduction.
The Foundation’s investment is in Liberia is divided into two separate phases, research and pilot projects. The long-term goals include:
- Advancing the sustainable rebuilding of Liberia’s energy infrastructure.
- Supporting community-driven, grassroots economic development.
- Supporting the development human capital and capacity.
- Supporting women in creating alternative energy enterprise(s) that would serve as models for similar efforts in other rural areas in the country.
- Enable rural women to conceptualize, design, and operate renewable energy enterprises, thereby modeling sustainable energy development while creating jobs and ultimately improving livelihoods.