The TEA-LP is a partnership of African, South Asian and Indo-Pacific universities committed to delivering professional graduates ready to drive the transition to sustainable energy access for all.

Our Partner Universities are committed to developing, implementing and evolving new first-of-its-kind postgraduate curricula in Africa, South Asia and Indo-Pacific, offering students the opportunity to develop skills and expertise sorely needed to advance the sustainable energy transition. By early 2022, 6 of our partner universities launched their new programmes and over 90 post-graduate students were enrolled in their Masters studies focused on energy access.

The TEA-LP Team supports our partners through workshops, webinars dedicated guidance on curriculum development, course planning, marketing and accreditation. We also have a Scholarship programme, in partnership with and generously supported by the Liechtenstein Institute for Sustainable Development, to enable students to access and enrol in the new programmes.

TEA-LP is part of the Transforming Energy Access platform, a research and innovation platform supporting the technologies, business models and skills needed to enable an inclusive clean energy transition.

As part of its scale-up, the TEA-LP has increased both the number of participating universities and its geographical coverage, adding 23 universities in Africa, South Asia and the Indo-Pacific region to the existing partnership.

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The TEA-LP is hosted by the African Climate and Development Institute at the University of Cape Town.

The ACDI is UCT’s collective response to the challenge of climate change in the context of sustainable development in Africa.  It is an inter- and transdisciplinary research and training institute co-generating new evidence and innovations to solve Africa’s climate and development challenges.

New Phase of the TEA-LP

The new phase of the TEA-LP is delivered through three complementary work packages that:

1) Address the need for new and improved curricula, innovation in curriculum development and prepare graduates to achieve energy access targets in their respective countries and beyond;

2) Support the growth of the sector through the design and implementation of new CPD courses;

3) Significantly expand its networking function in response to the urgent need for improved Southern visibility and recognition in the energy access sector space.

Through the above, the TEA-LP is expanding its networking function for universities, their students and other relevant stakeholders to jointly address the energy access challenge.

TEA-LP Work Package 1: Capacity building for masters students

WP1 aims to provide local graduates with the high-level knowledge, skills and competencies to contribute effectively to the sustainable delivery of clean energy access in their countries. WP1 will enable 23 universities across Africa, South Asia and the Indo-Pacific to embed one or more of three new energy access courses into their existing Masters programmes. TEA-LP will provide technical and financial support to ensure that the new courses are localised and launched at each university. Since July 2022, TEA-LP WP1 has commenced the design of three new Masters’ level energy access courses, starting with a dedicated virtual roundtable for each course, to determine the course Learning Outcomes and embed expert input from TEA partners and external sector experts. These inputs have informed the design of the new courses.

Each course (approximately 160-hour component of a masters’ programme)  includes a variety of aspects such as technology, policy, business models and socio-economic aspects of energy access. The course(s) are suitable for inclusion in diverse postgraduate programmes (or could be offered as standalone postgraduate course (s)) to support postgraduate students in diverse programmes to shift direction successfully towards the off-grid energy access sector. The courses adopt a case study approach highlighting best examples of global/regional solutions as well as national/local solutions. Each course also support: a systems thinking approach, critical thinking and data analysis, an entrepreneurial mindset, the development of soft skills and environmental stewardship. A description of the three courses and course design leads from phase 1 is highlighted below:

This high-level, multi-disciplinary course aims to provide the Masters’ level student with a framework for understanding the energy access sector, to assess local challenges and to offer potential local solutions. The course will offer the following topics:

  • Distributed energy systems (DES) including future options:
  • Enabling environment/ Policy and regulations;
  • Demand assessment and community engagement;
  • Business models for increasing community income;
  • Finance for the DRE sector.

Course Lead: Prof. Augustine Makokha, Moi University

This high-level, multi-disciplinary course aims to provide the Masters’ level student with a framework for understanding the min-grid sector, to assess its challenges and to offer potential solutions. The course will offer the following topics:

  • Business models: demand creation, productive use and financing;
  • Mini-grid systems and Future options;
  • Mini-grid regulation & policy;
  • Demand assessment and community engagement.

In addition, the course includes an optional unit on System sizing and economic modelling tools that will only be suitable for students with an engineering background.

Course Lead: Prof Moeketsi Mpholo, Energy Research Centre at National University of Lesotho

This aims to deliver graduates that can make a meaningful contribution to the design and integration, roll-out, market dynamics and maintenance requirements related to the appliance sector. The course enables a student to map out the environmental, socio-economic, business and design aspects of off-grid appliances to accelerate the diffusion and uptake of off-grid appliances for household (cooling, heating, cooking, communications), health and productive uses that improve quality of life, local economies and climate resilience. Students taking this course will be well-prepared to participate in the LEIA Efficiency for Access Design Challenge.

Course Lead: Engr Ruona Diemuodeke, University of Port Harcourt University

Work package 2: Capacity building for professionals

This work package addresses the needs of OGE companies and professionals in the sector to access training. The work package will support growth of the sector through 3 Continued Professional Development (CPD) courses. The courses will be designed, drawing on expertise from partners, external training providers, industry, and universities. Each of the CPD courses will include a focus on end-user appropriateness and highlight the importance of their embeddedness in the local context. UCT will provide an academic ‘home’ and the required certification of the CPD courses. The CPD courses will be offered online which will make them accessible for candidates from Africa South Asia and the Indo Pacific region. This includes the:

  • Design and delivery of 3 CPD courses for professionals working in the sector
  • Co-design and delivery of a Future Females course in collaboration with the Africa Management Institute

Work package 3: Network of Southern Expertise

Building on the networking role the TEA-LP has provided in Phase 1, WP3 provides more dedicated resources to support and grow the network and contribute to furthering the ecosystem of Southern expertise, in particular:

  • Increase the size of the TEA-LP network of institutions
  • Forging and strengthening beneficial collaborations between universities researchers and industry partners at a global level in the energy access sector
  • Provide ongoing support to TEA-LP network partners
  • Implement a strong communications and dissemination strategy
  • Broaden the scope of partnership activities including developing research activities


The TEA-LP is one of 8 projects funded by UK Aid under the Transforming Energy Access (TEA) platform. For more information on the TEA and the other projects being supported, visit the Carbon Trust website.

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Leslie Ashburner

Leslie Ashburner

Leslie Ann Ashburner has a background in education and development. She obtained her MPhil in Climate Change and Sustainable Development at the University of Cape Town (UCT). At UCT, she has worked on several collaborative climate and energy curriculum projects across Africa including the Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA) and the PAUWES curriculum projects. Currently, she leads the Transforming Energy Access - Learning Partnership (TEA-LP) with specific focus on supporting new universities in the partnership with innovations in curricula at Masters’ level.

Jiska De Groot

Jiska De Groot

Jiska De Groot is an energy and development geographer based at the University of Cape Town’s African Climate and Development Initiative. She holds a PhD in Human Geography focused on renewable energy and stakeholder engagement, an MSc in International Development Studies and a MA in Cultural Anthropology. In her current position as Senior Researcher at the University of Cape Town, her work focuses on the human dimension of sustainable energy access, energy poverty, gender and capacity building. She has a strong interest in conducting research that is policy-and practice-relevant with a focus on achieving local development benefits, whilst assisting with local change processes. Jiska currently leads the research support programme of the FCDO-funded Transforming Energy Access Programme, the establishment of a network of southern expertise for the energy access sector, and provides Gender and social inclusion support to a range of international energy and climate change programmes.

Mascha Moorlach

Mascha Moorlach

Mascha Moorlach has a degree in Architecture, Building and Planning from the Technical University of Eindhoven, the Netherlands. She has worked at the University of Cape Town as a researcher since 2006, and contributes a variety of perspectives to the energy sector. She has been involved from an engineering perspective, as a certified measurement and verification specialist for energy efficiency projects in support of the local demand side management. She has furthermore been involved in knowledge building on the impacts of engineering on the social and natural environment particularly in undergraduate curricula, as well as a capacity building through the Transforming Energy Access project which supports Universities with curriculum design and development of CPD courses.

Whitney Pailman

Whitney Pailman

Whitney Pailman is a PhD Candidate in Energy and Development at the University of Cape Town, with her dissertation on Integrated Business and Partnership Models for Energy Access in Sub-Saharan Africa. She combines research and project experience in off-grid energy access business models, innovation in off-grid solar and storage technologies, energy education and the gender-energy nexus in Sub-Saharan Africa. She holds a Masters degree in Energy and Development from the University of Cape Town and a Bachelor of Engineering in Civil Engineering from the University of Johannesburg. She served as a Research Fellow for the TEA-LP supporting gender mainstreaming in Masters programmes, and currently supports the expansion of the networking function to enhance the visibility of the Southern network.

Nomanesi Makhonco

Nomanesi Makhonco

Nomanesi Makhonco is natural scientist, who obtained her MSc in Environmental and water science at the University of the Western Cape. Her master’s in science degree focused on highlighting the importance of non-perennial rivers. In her role as research assistant at the African climate and Development Initiative (ACDI) she has done research work in alien tree mapping, clean cooking policies in Africa, community energy access, Technology Needs Assessment for climate change, transformative learning for sustainable development. She has expertise in remote sensing, data collection, capturing and analysis. Her role in the TEA-LP includes maintenance of the university database, reviewing of course resources and ongoing support for universities.

Kai Forster

Kai Forster

Kai Forster is an Engineering Management Master‘s graduate, with an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering (both from the University of Cape Town). Despite a technical background, Kai has gained most of his professional experience in the higher education field, and has lectured courses on Sustainability to final year electrical engineering students at UCT, first year Physics to veterinary physiotherapy students, and more recently, courses on an ’Introduction to the Energy Sector‘ and Risk Management - aimed at junior employees working in the energy and off-grid energy sectors, which formed a part of his work for TEA-LP in 2023. Kai has also contributed to TEA-LP as a Learning Design and Course Curriculum consultant, and he is currently working on projects developing three Master’s-level courses aimed at enhancing energy access around Africa, CPD courses for working professionals, and career development courses to equip individuals working in the energy and off-grid energy sectors with the necessary management skills to fast track their careers.

Rabia Karriem

Rabia Karriem

Rabia Karriem is the Logistics Manager for the TEA-LP project, using her excellent organizational, communication and people skills to arrange travel, accommodation and expense reimbursements for participants to TEA-LP workshops and events. Rabia joined the African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI) at UCT as Administrative Assistant in 2014. With her 27 years administration experience and deep knowledge of UCT policies and procedures, she is responsible for General Office Administration as well as Human Resources and Financial Administration.