1.2 billion.

In 2015, that is the number of people who do not have access to electricity worldwide, according to the World Energy Outlook.

Energy is crucial, not only to reduce poverty and to improve global health but also to enhance productivity and to develop economic growth. Each year, 3.8 million premature deaths worldwide are attributed to exposure to household air pollution. This is caused by the use of open fires and simple stoves burning biomass (wood, animal dung and crop waste) and coal.

Providing global access to modern energy resources should be a priority for governments, companies, NPOs, and citizen trying to end poverty and to make the world a better place to live in.

What is Acumen and what do they do?

Acumen raises charitable donations to invest in companies, leaders, and ideas that are changing the way the world tackles poverty. Founded in 2001 in the U.S., the organisation promotes social entrepreneurship as the solution to take on the world's biggest problems and to build a better future.

Since 2007, Acumen has invested $12.8 million in innovations that empower communities to get access to clean, reliable and affordable energy.

What is the IKEA Foundation and what do they do?

In 1982, the Swedish furniture seller IKEA established the IKEA Foundation, an initiative that is focused on children's rights to have a healthy and secure home. The foundation has created the "circle of prosperity", a list of fundamental needs for children to get out of poverty. The list is stated as follow: home, health, education and a sustainable family income. They have partnered with the United Nations, the UNICEF, Save The Children and many other global organisations.

In 2015, the foundation donated €120 million in helping children around the world to have a healthy start in life and better opportunities in their future.

What is this partnership about?

On March 4th 2016, Acumen released the announcement of their partnership with the IKEA Foundation. It will consist on investing in off-grid solar enterprises with the vision of improving global access to renewable energy. Off-grid energy systems, also known as remote area power supplies, are solutions to provide electricity in locations that do not have a general distribution system. Over the next three years, the IKEA Foundation and Acumen will work hands-in-hands to provide a platform for engagement to support the most recent and cutting-edge solutions in the energy sector.

Children need light in the evening to study and do their homework. Families need energy resources to live with dignity. Entrepreneurs need electricity to build their businesses. Hospitals cannot provide health services and save lives without functioning material and proper visibility at night.

Providing financial support to the social businesses that are working on sustainable solutions to global energy access is crucial for global development.