BWIRE: Let us have clean energy-powered festivities
Published on: December 26, 2019 11:12 (EAT)
Its holiday time and as Kenyans troop to the villages, eating will be a major menu on the schedules. As it were, goats, chicken and bulls will be slaughtered, and chapatis and ugali will fill most tables. Saw my friends purchasing meat-grilling machines and once again, charcoal business will be booming. However, little attention, if any, will be spared on how the cooking is done – the absence of cleaning and improved cooking technologies and knowledge in Kenya, and especially in the rural areas is very glaring and worrying. Harmful gases produced from unclean and traditional cooking method such as methane, carbon monoxide and black carbon have been reported to contribute a lot to the country’s disease burden. Its been documented that wood fuels- charcoal and firewood is the most commonly used cooking fuel in nearly 75 percent households. Access to the technologies is still a challenge because of policy related issues, that have been complicated by lack of resources for most Kenyans. Culture is a also a challenge that must be dealt with through national efforts to encourage behavior change within the communities. Efforts towards climate change adaptation and mitigation have also seen players include interventions to train journalists on climate change, engage policy makers at both national and county level in the projects that include climate change among others. Access to clean and improved cooking solutions as a contribution to Kenyans efforts towards adopting to climate change resilience still remains a challenge because of financing. The clean cooking sector needs attention, as its neglect will continue to frustrate the country’s efforts towards dealing with pollution, improved health through increased disease burden and above all mitigate adverse effects of climate change. The Government has made its concern over the issue and entered into partnership to help deal with the situation, though the efforts still miss the much-needed financial component. Kenya’s Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) Action agenda envisions that universal access to modern cooking solutions for all Kenyans is achieved by 2030, and the Kenya Off Grid Solar Access Project (KOSAP) supported by the World Bank has a big component on increasing the uptake of clean cookstoves among Kenyans especially in underserved counties. Both national and county governments need to create affirmative funds to support Kenyans, especially in the rural areas and with low income to access such improved sustainable access to cooking energy, which is currently not the case. The extended financial resources should be both for consumers and entrepreneurs to accelerate both the supply and demand sides of the chain. Its time budgetary allocation towards encouraging using clean and improved coking solutions through public education, access and use and creating a policy shift is spared. A pilot project funded by HIVOS under the Green and Inclusive Energy Programme Strategic Partnership being implemented in Kwale County by the Clean Cooking Association is giving very promising results. The project targets the involvement of vulnerable women in clean cooking entrepreneurial and will see the development of policies guidelines on the establishment of an affirmative fund towards women entrepreneurs in the clean cooking sector, access resources to set up businesses or loans to purchase clean cooking stoves for use in the houses. A study by the CCAK and the Ministry of Energy entitled Kenya Household Cooking Sector Study released recently shows that 93.2 per cent of Kenyans in the rural areas still rely on solid fuels as their primary fuel source. Using clean cooking solutions will support the Government to restore Kenya’s forest cover to 10 per cent from the current 7 per cent. Furthermore, household air pollution brought about cooking using inefficient technologies is a key health risk factor to Kenyans. It notes that about 58 per cent of Kenyans in 2019 compared to 76% in 1999 of households use the three stone open fire (TSOF-that includes improved artisanal charcoal stoves, artisanal metallic charcoal stove and the branded charcoal stoves).