The Multifunction Platform (MFP) is a concept and a structure developed by UNDP and deployed in a number of West African countries, and Tanzania and Zambia. The idea has been to place an MFP in a village which, driven by a diesel engine, powers devices such as pumps and grain mills and generators. The UNDP has produced a number of reports on this project in Mali which can be accessed here. There are few independent analyses of the development impact of the concept of the multifunctional plateform, but recently an article in the journal Energy Policy,which can be accessed here, provide a more nuanced view of programme achievements than impact assessments made public at earlier stages of the project.
The primary impact of the MFP has been on women's work (on reducing daily drudgery and opening up new opportunities in life) and the UNDP's deployment has been to women's organisations, with part local funding and part local grant.
In places where Jatropha is grown, a device, powered by the MFP, can crush the Jatropha seed. The oil produced is a biodiesel, allowing the MFP to produce biodiesel for its own operation, with a large surplus. The Mali Folke Centre has reported on its success in this field.
Whereas the UNDP's projects have involved substantial injection of foreign expert advice, a low budget self-initiated approach was in recent times taken in Kiliba, DRC at Farm of Hope, a project of Fondation chirezi. However, that project failed to materialise.