Consolidating the demand of a new public service is one of the challenges that urban authorities face when they innovate and design new services. One effective and proven strategy is to channel the demand through referral services. This is what EPIU project has tested by training around 150 professionals from different departments in Getafe municipality and civil society organizations on how to identify and tackle energy poverty.

The role of multiplier agents while tackling energy poverty

Multiplier agents are individuals or organizations that act as catalysts in the social assistance process. The importance of multiplier agents in the energy poverty arena lies in their ability to extend the reach to support those suffering a situation of vulnerability. In Getafe, for example, they act as a bridge between those suffering a situation of vulnerability and the OHS-Healthy Households’ Municipal Office Service. This helps to overcome the challenges of information asymmetry, lack of access to resources, and other barriers that prevent vulnerable populations from accessing services in the municipality. It also represents an opportunity to reach people from a non-institutional approach.

Examples of multiplier agents include referral services from the municipality but also community-based organizations, faith-based groups, local authorities, social workers, and volunteers. These agents are often better placed to identify and target vulnerable populations, as they have intimate knowledge of the local context, social norms, and cultural practices. They can leverage this knowledge to tailor social assistance programs to the specific needs of the beneficiaries and ensure that the assistance provided is effective and sustainable.

Furthermore, multiplier agents can also provide valuable feedback to energy poverty services, helping them to improve the quality of their programs and make them more responsive to the needs of the beneficiaries. This feedback loop ensures that the service is adaptive and responsive to the evolving needs of the community.


Building capacity to referral services and multiplier agents

Building capacity among multiplier agents is crucial for maximizing their effectiveness in tackling energy poverty. By equipping these agents with the necessary knowledge, skills, and resources, they can better serve as catalysts in reaching and supporting vulnerable populations. Here are some key points on the importance of building capacity among multiplier agents:

Enhanced Knowledge: Building capacity involves providing multiplier agents with comprehensive knowledge about energy and energy poverty, policies, and available resources. This knowledge equips them to effectively navigate the system and guide beneficiaries towards the right support. It also helps them stay updated on evolving practices and changes in social assistance programs.

Specialized Skills: Capacitating multiplier agents involves providing them with specific skills such as understanding energy bills or energy use at household level as well as tools to identify situations of energy vulnerability.

Strengthened Networks: Building capacity includes fostering strong networks among multiplier agents, service providers, and relevant stakeholders. These networks facilitate collaboration, knowledge sharing, and coordinated efforts in delivering energy assistance. Strong networks also provide multiplier agents with access to diverse expertise and resources, enabling them to make informed referrals and offer comprehensive support.

Empowerment and Support: Capacity building should focus on empowering multiplier agents to advocate for their communities and their users. This can involve providing them with tools for community mobilization, policy engagement, and empowerment initiatives. Additionally, ongoing support and mentoring programs can help them overcome challenges, build confidence, and continuously improve their effectiveness.

Data and Information Management: Capacitating multiplier agents may include providing them with the necessary tools and training to collect, manage, and utilize data effectively, in this case energy and socioeconomic data.

Recognition and Incentives: Recognizing the critical role of multiplier agents while tackling energy poverty can further enhance their motivation and commitment.

In conclusion, building capacity among multiplier agents is essential for optimizing their contributions to the specific energy poverty service. By enhancing their knowledge, skills, networks, empowerment, and support systems, multiplier agents can effectively reach and serve vulnerable populations, ensuring that such specific programs are more impactful, responsive, and sustainable.


Training to multiplier agents in Getafe

EPIU project has trained municipal departments and companies (Social Welfare, Neighbourhood Services, GISA and EMSV), as well as different associations in the municipality (Murialdo Association, YMCA, Solidaridad Esperanza, Trama Centre and APANID).

Around 150 people have participated and have received specific training on the urban and building context of the municipality, energy efficiency, bill optimisation, the management of the social voucher and the improvement of habits, among others. Each edition has been adapted to respond the needs and profiles of the different agents (public agent, charities, ...)

This training has been coordinated by Khora and implemented by the project's training partners: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Asociación de Ciencias Ambientales, Fundación Naturgy, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (ETSAM), Cruz Roja (Getafe) and Fundación Laboral de la Construcción.

The first evaluations confirm the increase in the number of people using the Office and the satisfaction of the citizens themselves, thanks to the promotion of synergies between the municipal areas and the entities of the associative fabric of Getafe with the Healthy Homes Office. After all, this training has also made it possible to raise awareness of the EPIU project office and its intervention capacities in the territory among all the citizens of Getafe.

More information on the training https://hogaressaludables.getafe.es/en/formacion-a-derivadores/

More on EPIU

Stay tuned to know how it is progressing on EPIU’s website https://hogaressaludables.getafe.es/en/

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About this resource

Marta Garcia
Getafe, Spain Small sized cities (50k > 250k)
About UIA
Urban Innovative Actions

The Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) is a European Union initiative that provided funding to urban areas across Europe to test new and unproven solutions to urban challenges. The initiative had a total ERDF budget of €372 million for 2014-2020.

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