Hivos East Africa

East Africa

Renewable Energy

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.

Sub-Saharan Africa alone has been more vulnerable to the effects of climate change more than ever. The Intergovernmental panel on climate change predicts that by 2020, crop yields may fall up to 50 per cent and 75-250 million people could be affected by increased water shortages. This poses a significant risk for the generations to come and deny them valuable environmental resources such as clean air and food.