The ECOWAS Certification of Sustainable Energy Skills (ECSES) scheme is the West Africa's foremost Regional Certification Scheme established for all ECOWAS countries by ECREEE with the support of EU, IRENA, GIZ and other partners to promote professional competency and quality assurance for the renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) market. The Regional Certification Body (RCB) of the scheme in collaboration with national institutions certifies sustainable energy professionals that are working in the areas of RE and EE and those new to through sector. The RCB also addresses low quality equipment and poor installations work challenges of the ECOWAS region through the scheme. The scheme is based on framework documents for initial certification, maintenance of certification and re-certification of practitioners.
The establishment of the ECSES scheme starts with the development of JTAs. The first JTA that was developed is the JTA for Off-grid Solar Photovoltaic Technicians/Professionals. This JTA was developed by member states industry RE and EE experts and presented to stakeholders from all the ECOWAS countries. It was first presented to stakeholders from the from the seven UEMOA member states in a workshop organized in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in April 2015. A second workshop was organized in July 2015 to present the draft JTA to representatives of the remaining ECOWAS member states and to gain their commitment for the certification scheme. These two workshops marked the start of national consultation processes with all ECOWAS member states to review the content of the JTA.
The results of these consultations were then integrated into the final French and English versions of the JTA which were validated at a regional workshop with all 15 ECOWAS member states held in Praia, Cabo Verde in December 2015 and later translated into Portuguese. At the Praia workshop, which brought together representatives from the ECOWAS member states, the JTA was accepted by all ECOWAS countries, the structure and functioning of the certification scheme were also discussed, candidates for the planned technical committee were suggested for consideration. ECREEE was also nominated to serve as the RCB while the organizational and management structure of the RCB is established in ECREEE to the operation of the scheme.
Figure 1: Flowchart of the ECSES Scheme.
The overview of the certification process is illustrated in figure 1 below. The figure also shows the organs and relational flow of the ECSES scheme. The organs of the ECSES scheme is made up of the fifteen (15) ECOWAS member countries, partner training and examination institutions, stakeholders, industry experts and players, observers (GIZ, IRENA), and a fifteen (15) technical committee member representing each ECOWAS country. The ECSES scheme began operation in 2019 after all the framework documents of the scheme were developed and validated by the technical committee and stakeholders in all ECOWAS member states. The RCB is committed to providing regional certification programs of high quality and to make sure its certified practitioners abide by the adopted codes of ethics to the satisfaction of consumers. RCB understands the importance of impartiality in carrying out certification functions and treats all applicants, candidates, and credential holders fairly and impartially by following the guidelines and procedures. Currently, all the structures and procedures of the ECSES scheme are aligned with the requirements of the standard ISO/IEC 17024:2012.