Wote town, Makueni county hosted the first energy champions training on 20th and 21st June, 2023 for thirty ward representatives. This training was a special request by H.E Mutula Kilonzo Jnr, Governor of Makueni, where he reiterated, in a previous meeting, the importance of having a bottom-up approach while developing the Makueni county energy plan.
The energy champions were selected from each ward to assist the county advocate for clean energy use and make energy transition understandable at the grass root level. During the two-day training, the champions had an opportunity to learn the linkages between climate change and the energy sector, the basic use and operation of solar technologies such as solar panels, solar cooling and solar water pumping, the importance of improved cookstoves, communication and active listening. The training included seminar style teaching, group discussions and role plays.
“The skills I have received from this training have propelled my desire to advocate further for clean cooking technologies. During my interaction with women in the community, I have found that they are directly affected by the fumes produced by firewood when preparing meals for their families. Consequently, using firewood daily makes them prone to lung infections. This training has equipped me on how I can best advocate for “Jiko Kisasa” – a clean cooking stoves which I have been using since 2008” Salome Kilonzi, retailer of clean cook stoves and solar home systems at Membuten supplies, Mbitine Ward.
This training was timely for Makueni County stated Eng. Naomi Nthambi, Chief Officer, Energy. She noted that projects advocating for the use of clean cooking and energy have a nil or low uptake due to lack of community awareness. The newly trained energy champion’s will be our ambassadors to help penetrate the community and spread the good news of clean and safe energy. Collective action and behaviour change at the local and individual level will be driven by their influence and proactiveness within the community to advocate for clean energy. Furthermore, they will be the voice of the county in promoting clean energy, sharing information about new and ongoing projects, and assisting the county in overseeing these projects.
The Makueni county energy plan is now sixty percent complete. “The team has now begun writing the various chapters of the county energy plan and analyzing productive uses of energy at the county level targeting projects that are utilizing energy for income generating activities.” affirmed Patrick Mwanzia, Ag. Director, Strathmore Energy Research Centre. “We are also identifying key projects that can be financed during the implementation of the county energy plan to help the community advance on electricity access, clean cooking, energy efficiency and conservation matters. He added.
In the month of July 2023, the team will conduct a carbon credits training in collaboration with the national treasury.
This project is funded by UKPACT in partnership with the Makueni County and World Resources Institute and is led by Patrick Mwanzia.
This article was written by Anne Njeri Njoroge, Communications Officer at Strathmore Energy Research Centre.