SNV’s Rianne Teule joined energy specialists at the Clean Cooking Forum and related activities in Kenya in November.
In November 2019, I had the opportunity to gather with Voice for Change Partnership (V4CP) civil society partners and SNV experts in Nairobi, Kenya for a week of learning and exchange about how to achieve sustainable energy for all. This took place through the Clean Cooking Forum 2019 and the V4CP Energy Exchange visit. These complementary events provided a rich programme of knowledge sharing between partners, field visits, Forum discussion sessions and networking opportunities. All participants went home with new knowledge, ideas and contacts for their advocacy work on renewable energy and clean cooking at home.
The energy specialists from civil society organisations (CSOs) from Burkina Faso, Ghana and Honduras were enthusiastic about the four-day exchange visit with their peers in Kenya and other countries. I was happy to facilitate information sharing about their advocacy successes so far in the V4CP programme, providing others with new ideas for activities in their own context. The CSOs also discussed specific areas of expertise that are relevant to all countries, such as quality standards and testing and fiscal incentives.
Field visits: women community champions and solar
In the field visits, we visited Kiambu county, where GROOTS Kenya works with the county government and women community champions on increasing awareness on clean cooking solutions and the inclusive development of an Energy & Climate Policy that includes clean cooking interventions. We met with strong women leaders, who are educating other women in their communities to adopt clean cooking technologies. It was particularly inspiring to see how these community leaders and county policy makers joined hands in activities, aimed at market development for clean cooking solutions adapted to the local context. The Ghanaian V4CP partners now aim to adopt the community champions led approach in their work in Ghana.
The international delegation also visited the Kitonyoni in Makueni county. This off-grid rural market village benefits from the Kitonyoni Solar Mini-Grid Project, a cooperative electrification model owned by the villagers with support from the University of Southampton under the Energy for Development network. Under this community-managed system, villagers can buy shares and receive dividends each year. The project has signed a 20-year agreement with the national energy utility to ensure that the village will not be connected to the main grid, to keep the mini-grid profitable.
Clean Cooking Forum 2019
After the V4CP exchange visit, we all participated in the Clean Cooking Forum 2019. This rich and interactive conference offered a great opportunity for further learning through the Forum sessions, networking at the Forum’s exhibition, B2B sessions and reception. The CSOs got new perspectives on women entrepreneurship, technology and innovation, and methods for measuring success of clean cooking interventions. We were all inspired by the diversity of participants and the energy at the event, showing an increasing will within the global cooking community to join forces to accelerate the cooking sector transition.
All in all, this week of learning and exchange in Kenya was not only inspiring and educative, but was also an enormous pleasure to spend time with our partners from the V4CP countries and jointly develop new and innovative strategies to strengthen our efforts to reach Sustainable Development Goal 7: access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.