These were the sentiments shared by H.E Mutula Kilonzo Junior, CBS, Governor, Government of Makueni, during his opening remarks at a progress meeting held on 15th February 2023 in his office. During the meeting, Victor Otieno, Researcher at Strathmore Energy Research Centre (SERC) provided an overview on the Makueni County Energy Plan (CEP) to the Governor and several members of the County Executive Committee Members. He was accompanied by Sarah Odera from SERC and Beryl Ajwang, World Resources Institute. Victor described the process of developing the Makueni CEP, drawing linkages garnered from the Narok and Kitui County Energy Plan experiences.
Developing the CEP includes creating a GIS toolkit for energy planning, which equips users with data and insights to identify and prioritize areas where energy access can be expanded. Further, data collection is done at the household level and through focus group discussions with public institutions such as schools, health facilities as well as micro, small, and medium enterprises. To ensure sustainability, the team provides capacity building for county officers and Technical Training Institutions located within Makueni.
“One of our key challenges is accessing all the scientific research and data about Makueni,” said Dr. Sonnia Musyoka, CECM in charge of Lands, Urban Development, Environment and Climate Change. “We hope as a University you will be able to assist with this,” she added. Dr. Musyoka was happy that the Makueni CEP will assist the county in its drive to make decisions based on science and data.
H.E Mutula Kilonzo Junior, CBS, reminded the team to use the bottom up approach and ensure clean energy ambassadors are selected from the community. It is these ambassadors who will help us advocate for clean energy use within the county and make energy transition understandable. He also advocated for a correlation between what we are doing in the county energy plan and enhancing the lives of the people in Makueni. He further challenged the team to think towards green bonds and how to educate the community on various opportunities in the renewable energy sector.
The team, which began the development of the Makueni County Energy plan is currently analyzing the household survey data that was collected towards the end of 2022. The team has also begun capacity building workshops with the first one held in Nairobi on 24th November 2022. The workshop brought gender experts to a round table to discuss how to incorporate Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) into county energy plans.
The Makueni County Energy Plan will be completed in September 2023 and the findings will be disseminated to stakeholders in the energy ecosystem.
This project is funded by UKPACKT in partnership with the Makueni County and World Resources Institute and is led by Victor Thomas Otieno.
This article was written by Anne Njeri Njoroge, Communications Officer at Strathmore Energy Research Centre.