Turning plastic back to liquid gold – at the Alternative Energy Systems Limited

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The Alternative Energy Systems Limited (AESL) in Thika, Kiambu County provides an ideal platform for experiential learning on how to convert waste plastic into usable forms of energy. Its positive social impacts include reducing plastic pollution, generating employment and producing a charcoal substitute from carbon black (a pyrolysis byproduct). Read more

Lilian NamumaTurning plastic back to liquid gold – at the Alternative Energy Systems Limited
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The Sustainability of Wood Fuel Will Be Determined by Women

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Partnership on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Renewables (wPOWER Hub) at the Wangari Maathai Institute, will participate at the 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV), Summit, which will be held at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) headquarters Nairobi, Kenya on 25th -26th August 2016.

The wPOWER Hub Director, Wanjira Mathai will speak at a side event  “The Future of Wood Based Fuel” on 25th August, where she will highlight the role of the wPOWER Hub in amplifying women’s leadership in the clean energy sector. The wPOWER Hub will also showcase her progress in advocating for women in clean energy entrepreneurship and climate change through its exhibition.

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DorothyThe Sustainability of Wood Fuel Will Be Determined by Women
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Wangari Maathai’s Legacy: The official Laying of the Foundation Stone Ceremony

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The wPOWER Hub team, led by the Director, Wanjira Mathai today joined H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta in making history by laying the foundation stone at the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies ‘Green Campus’, in a colourful ceremony that was presided over by President Uhuru Kenyatta at the College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences(CAVS), Upper Kabete Campus, University of Nairobi.

The ‘Green Campus’ will host the wPOWER Hub, and continue to play an important role in championing evidence-based policy-making and forging strong working relationships with knowledge institutions through action learning processes which will help mitigate risk in the energy sector innovation.
The Wangari Maathai Institute has been instrumental in supporting the wPOWER Hub to continue its focus on making the case for the role of women in clean energy entrepreneurship.
In his Speech, Hon. Kenyatta paid a glowing tribute to the late Prof. Wangari Maathai for her relentless work and passion to care for the environment. “I am encouraged to learn that this Institute is already playing a critical role in reducing conflicts in communities by involving women in green energy technology, and in environmental conservation,” said the President.

The Institute, that is set to be completed mid next year is designed to give an expression of the vision of Wangari Maathai for democratic space, sustainable and accountable management and cultures of peace. The Institute aims to create a culture of peace through transformational leadership in environmental governance.
The cost of construction of phase I of the WMI is at KES 600m and is supported by the government of Kenya, the African Union through African Development Bank and the UoN. The President reaffirmed the government’s commitment to support the project up to its completion.

Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies will train students from the whole African continent on environmental issues. The campus will as well play a key role in shaping democracy and peace building initiatives.

The ceremony was well represented in attendance by representatives from the Government of Kenya, University of Nairobi, Green Belt Movement and well wishers.

Wangari Maathai was awarded the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize “for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace”.

DorothyWangari Maathai’s Legacy: The official Laying of the Foundation Stone Ceremony
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H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta Applauds wPOWER Hub’s Progress at the 2016 Nairobi Innovation Week

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President Uhuru Kenyatta attended and presided over the official opening ceremony of the 2016 Nairobi Innovation Week, held at the University of Nairobi’s main campus, to engage policy makers on the growth and support of the innovation ecosystem in Kenya.

The President was drawn to the College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences’ (CAVS) stand which hosted exhibitions from the Wangari Maathai Institute and clean cooking and lighting innovation technologies from the wPOWER  Hub. The President familiarized with the different technologies and observed as they were presented at the exhibition, learned about existing global energy problems and wPOWER Hub’s intervention.

The President’s visit came at a critical time when approximately 70% of Kenyans neither have electricity nor access to alternative sources of energy. About the same number rely on traditional fuels, such as fuelwood, charcoal, dung and agricultural residues for cooking and heating. Speaking during the presidential visit, wPOWER  Hub Project Officer Simon Kiragu explained how the wPOWER Hub initiative was participating in the socio economic empowerment of grassroots women in clean energy solutions and expressed hope that as a result of the exhibition and forum, which has drawn a huge volume of clean energy stakeholders and practitioners, an innovative and sustainable energy action plan will be drawn.

The Project Officer stated that the wPOWER  Hub initiative complemented the government’s efforts to enhance global energy security, drive economic growth, bring life-changing energy services to grassroots women  and increase ambition in combating climate change.

President Uhuru assessed as inspiring the efforts of the wPOWER  Hub in recognizing and addressing the critical importance of increasing clean energy access, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving resilience in the face of climate change.

DorothyH.E President Uhuru Kenyatta Applauds wPOWER Hub’s Progress at the 2016 Nairobi Innovation Week
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Tindi Sitati
Published: February 23rd, 2016,  — 
In a bid to reduce the pressure on forests depleted by the burning of wood for fuel, the wPOWER Hub has taken next steps for the introduction of new stove technologies in Kibra, Nairobi County to improve household air pollution and environmental degradation. This they have done through the launch of the wPOWER Hub One – Stop Shop for clean energy technologies.

Through its Monitoring and Evaluation team, the Hub identified 51 women and one male in various women groups in Kibra, to become clean energy entrepreneurs. The women underwent a three day training on Sustainable Clean Energy Entrepreneurship where they were trained about the benefits of the new clean stoves and solar lighting technologies, compared to traditional cooking and lighting technologies .They also learnt various sales techniques and core competencies to become effective entrepreneurs for clean cookstoves and lighting technologies.

Prof Kiama Gitahi, the Academic Director of the wPOWER Hub said that the whole training embraced social, environmental and economic aspects in the community. He informed participants that the smoke from traditional cookstoves and kerosene lanterns is harmful to especially women and children.

Understanding the importance of end-user training for new stove technologies, and the availability of customer care and after-sales services, the group was also trained in stove operation instruction and stove maintenance. Through the various women groups households can access finance for the purchase of the clean technologies.

The training marked the end of the 1st phase that included 6 regions (i.e Othaya, Muranga, Maragua, Homabay, Munyaka and Kibra). Phase 2 will cover 13 new regions.


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The wPOWER Hub continues to take steps towards increasing public awareness about the work of the Hub and that of its partners to demonstrate the critical role of women in the clean energy value chain.

The wPOWER Hub Director, Wanjira Mathai and Academic Director Prof Kiama Gitahi, have participated in several high level assemblies where they presented excellent opportunities for raising public awareness for wPOWER Hub activities and thereby highlighting the critical role of women in addressing the climate crisis.

Nairobi International Trade Fair 2015: wPOWER Hub, scooped second position  in a category of ‘The best stand demonstrating the application of environmental quality standards’ at the NITF,the largets Trade Fair in East Africa.

On display at the wPOWER Hub stand, were environmentally friendly clean cookstoves and lighting technologies which were in line with the year’s trade fair theme – Enhancing Technology in Agriculture and Industry for Food Security and National Growth. The technologies are able to combat climate change which is a major contributor leading to food insecurity. A healthy nation is a productive nation and also entrepreneurship from energy technologies enhances economic growth.

World Forestry Congress: The Project Director and the Project Officer attended the World Forestry Congress in South Africa. The congress was held for the first time ever in Africa under the theme ‘Forests and People: Investing in a sustainable future’. The focus was on the social-economic development and food security; building resilience, integrating land uses, encouraging product innovation and sustainable trade and improving governance.

The Project Director Ms WanjiraMathai was a speaker at a side event named The hottest topic in forestry: How we can make woodfuels more sustainable? She also spoke in Special Event: More than heat! Wood energy for the future.

Sustainable Tree-Based Bio energy Workshop: The Project Director, Project Officer and the Communication officer attended a Sustainable Tree-based Bioenergy in Sub-Saharan Africa Workshop at the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) Nairobi. As wPOWER seeks to increase public awareness on clean energy and aggregating data to build evidence base on integrating women in the energy access value chain, the workshop brought together policy makers and experts from around the world to draft an Agenda for Action on the bioenergy sector.

Women & Girls Rising Conference:  The gathering brought together policy makers, activists and scholars working on a range of issues relating to the achievement of basis human rights and development opportunities for women and girls around the world.  Wanjira Mathai’s presentation focused on the role of the historical Women’s Conferences in nurturing women’s movements around the world.  Wanjira highlighted the role of women in the energy access value chain. She noted that when women are directly involved in the value chain: energy access will increase, livelihoods will improve, and environmental degradation will decrease.  More specifically, she noted that wPOWER partners believe that clean energy technologies like solar lamps and clean cookstoves will be adopted in greater numbers as women entrepreneurs market and sell them and use them themselves.

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Opening of the Clinton Global Initiative: There was a strong focus on successful commitments to action with short videos from the field punctuating every panel discussion.The wPOWER Hub shared the Climate Reality Project’s “24 Reasons for Hope” video, which highlighted wPOWER partner activities, with the CGI secretariat for their viewing.

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 Leader’s Forum on Women Leading the Way:  The Mary Robinson Foundation and UN Women co-hosted the Leaders’ Forum on Women Leading the Way: Raising Ambition for Climate Action.   The forum was designed to showcase women’s leadership, raise ambition at the national and international levels and share how women are successfully overcoming obstacles to design and implement effective actions on climate change. Present at the forum were current and former heads of government, ministers, scientists, leaders from grassroots, youth, indigenous organizations, civil society and the private sector.   Each table was chaired by an eminent personality.  Wanjira was invited as one of the Women Leaders from civil society and presented the work the wPOWER Project is doing in East Africa, India and Nigeria at a roundtable chaired by a member of the Elders, HE Graça Machel.

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The Cookstove Future Summit: Hosted by the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a wPOWER Hub Partner, this summit brought together world leaders and global influencers in government, finance, industry, research, civil society and entrepreneurship for a remarkable opportunity to transform the way the world cooks, and help prevent millions of premature deaths that occur every year from household air pollution.

During this Summit, the wPOWER Project Director moderated the opening panel on Why the Future is Now: The Need to Scale Rapidly and also presented the wPOWER Hub commitment to serve a catalytic role in supporting our partners to hasten the adoption of clean energy technologies while ensuring the involvement of women within that value chain.

The Post Summit Report

No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project: The wPOWER Hub Project Director participated as a speaker at the launch of  The Full Participation Report.Compiled by the Clinton and Gates Foundations after an analysis of more than 1.8 Million data points from over 190 counties, the Report presents the most complete picture of the status of women’s participation since the 1995 UN 4th World Conference on the Status of Women in Beijing.

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Accelerating Clean Energy in Africa Workshop: The Academic Director  Prof Kiama Gitahi attended and  participated at the ‘Accelerating Clean Energy in Africa Workshop’ at Desmond Tutu Conference Centre in Nairobi. The workshop was organized by the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) in partnership with The Energy Resources Institute and the Department of International Development (DfID).

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Other Events are:

  • Second Ministerial Forum on Science, Technology, and Innovation in Africa, Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco, Rabat, Morocco
  • Global Green Growth Forum, Copenhagen
  • UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development held in Aichi-Nagoya, Japan
  • Climate Change COP (COP20), Lima, Peru
  • Green Energy Conference, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Women & Environment Forum
  • CPF Wangari Maathai Forest Champion Award Ceremony 2015
  • World Environment Day
  • Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU), Miami, Florida.
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