Hivos East Africa

East Africa

Renewable Energy

“Universal energy access by 2030 is now within reach”. The title of the International Energy Agency (IEA) press release announcing the Energy Access Outlook 2017 report, released on 19 October, sounds promising. The IEA’s detailed analysis of the status of energy access in the world attributes its optimism to growing political will and declining costs of energy technologies.

Even with the expansion of national grid systems and tapping into renewable energy, it’s been argued that Africa’s energy systems are not meeting the needs of the poor.

In Ethiopia, the argument is not too far-fetched, against a population of 104 million people, how do you meet the energy needs of everyone especially for those in dire need like the poor?

4,000 female entrepreneurs bring renewable energy to over 2 million people

How do you get sustainable energy solutions for more than 2 million people in the most remote areas of Africa and Asia? And how do you make sure these solutions are really used? The answer is as brilliant as it is simple: appeal to the power of women. Since March 2016, the ENERGIA programme has been hosted by Hivos, and the results speak volumes. So Xenia Wassenbergh of Hivos’ People Unlimited Post sat down with two of the motors behind ENERGIA to find out more.

My father is from Nigeria. In 1967, a terrible civil war broke out in his region. Biafra wanted to proclaim it independence, to which the Nigerian state reacted with bloody slaughter and systematic starvation. Millions of Biafrans died, and images of malnourished children shocked the world.

Wilberforce Namanya is a farmer in Bushenyi District in Western Uganda.  Wilberforce and his family live on a hilly unfertile rocky land. Farming on this piece of land has been difficult for a long time.  The Namanyas had always dreamt of becoming commercial farmers but this was thwarted by the nature of the land on where their household is located. This has since changed with the use of bio-slurry (a semi-liquid mixture from a biogas plant that can be used as fertiliser and pesticide).  Wilberforce constructed his first 6 cubic meters biogas plant in 2010.

James Namara is a retired public servant living in Ntungamo district. James constructed his biogas plant in 2010.  Since that time, he has been using bio-slurry to fertilize his farm.  He developed a lot of interest in the bio-slurry use and production that he has now become a model farmer in his district.

Over the past two years, the government of Kenya has set out on an ambitious plan with regards to electrification of both households and public institutions through grid extension, resulting in astronomical jumps in connectivity of both schools and households.

Why civil society’s contribution is crucial in ensuring energy access for all

Looking back on my overwhelming first time attending a Council of the Parties (COP) at COP22 in Marrakech last November, it was filled with so many meetings, side panels, negotiations and networking opportunities that it was easy to overlook the real people affected by lack of access to energy. Acronyms were flying all over the place, COP veterans sped past us newbies to get to the next negotiation session for LTF – that’s long-term climate finance to you and me – and  little huddles of people speaking in a truly foreign language (COP-lingo) were gathered outside every meeting room and ever

You can almost see nothing inside the Manyatta (a home, often temporary of the Maasai/Samburu people). The window and only ventilation is the size of two adult hands. There is fire burning probably to keep the place lit up and warm given it is a rainy day. Even with the choking darkness one cannot fail to notice the hanging soot from the mud ceiling. At night, our host, Grace Malipe uses a kerosene wick. She has four children in school and this is their source of light as they go about their homework.

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