In regions with vast structural inequalities, such as the Sahel and isolated areas of Latin America, universal access to basic amenities – food, health, water, sanitation, energy, and housing – has become a wicked problem.

Ensuring the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals (in particular SDG2, SDG3, SDG6 and SDG7) requires innovation in the design and implementation of public policies for access to basic amenities.

Through this platform, itdUPM aims to create a new “infrastructure for collaboration” between public and private institutions and social organisations to guarantee access to basic amenities.Founded in 2014, Alianza Shire is the first multi-stakeholder partnership for humanitarian action in Spain, involving the participation of five entities from the public and private sectors and the university, with the purpose of improving access to energy for refugee populations.

We are developing innovative and sustainable initiatives – energy and lighting services – which include training and entrepreneurship programs, as well as sharing the lessons learned with the international humanitarian community.

We are currently operating in four refugee camps in the Shire area (northern Ethiopia) and their respective host communities, reaching more than 40,000 people.Together with the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), CIDEAL and CSIC, we carried out a study on how to incorporate applied research into Spanish Cooperation programs in Africa.

Within this framework, we have designed a line of applied research for a pilot project that is underway in the rural area of Matam (Senegal).

In addition, we are working with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to strengthen the productive systems of Central American countries in terms of sustainability, inclusion and resilience to climate change.

The project specifically aims to identify good agricultural practices that are sustainable, inclusive, climate-adapted and with low carbon emissions, and which can subsequently be institutionalised and replicated.

In order to analyse these good practices, we have combined the case study methodology developed by itdUPM with the FAO methodology for good practices.Virtuous Circles is a concept formulated jointly by the Innovation and Technology for Development Centre at the Technical University of Madrid (itdUPM) and ISGlobal inspired by the considerable experience accumulated by Spanish development aid in dozens of communities all over the world.

Using examples from different sectors—energy, global health, food security—this report illustrates the importance of knowledge and innovation in finding solutions to the complex problems of development.For the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, itdUPM has developed five case studies based on partnerships that have successfully extended access to basic amenities in low-income populations in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The case studies document four initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean that provide sanitation, health, energy and solid waste management, along with a case study in South Africa featuring the municipal provision of water and sanitation services, which has received broad international recognition.

In addition, we prepared a final report containing the key success factors that have enabled these model initiatives to guarantee basic services to vulnerable groups.