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Source: University of Nairobi/News

Prof. Kiama holds a PhD degree in Structural Biology from the University of Bern, Switzerland.  He obtained his Bachelors of Veterinary Medicine and Masters of Veterinary Anatomy from the University of Nairobi.

Prior to his appointment, he was the Director of Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies.  He has previously also served as the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine for seven years (2003 – 2010).He has authored over 100 journal and conference publications, with over 60 in reputable scientific journals i.e journal of Leukocyte Biology, Immunology and cell Biology, American Journal of Pathology, American Journal of Respiratory, cell and Molecular Biology.

He is also the Coordinator of the African Natural Product training Network.  (Rise – AFNNET) involving three Universities from East Africa, (Makerere, Sokoine and University of Nairobi).
The program has sponsored 16 PhD and MSc graduates with scholarships.
Prof. Peter Mbithi, Vice-Chancellor (right) congratulates Prof. Stephen Kiama (centre), on his appointment as Principal, CAVS. Looking on is Prof. Henry Mutoro, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic Affairs

Prof. Peter Mbithi, Vice-Chancellor (right) congratulates Prof. Stephen Kiama (centre), on his appointment as Principal, CAVS. Looking on is Prof. Henry Mutoro, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic Affairs

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Sustainable Clean Energy Entrepreneurship Training: Machakos County

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By Tindi Sitati / wPOWER Hub News

April. 7, 2016
MACHAKOS COUNTY – Jackline Mwende had always wanted to be a successful business woman, now married with children her dream is still alive.

The Kaiwa based house wife received an invitation to the “Sustainable Clean Energy Entrepreneurship Training” by the wPOWER Hub at the Wangari Maathai Institute, University of Nairobi and was offered a free, three day training course. Jackline signed up, and was one of 54 women to proudly graduate Friday, 1st April 2016, after gaining skills on clean energy entrepreneurship.

“I would like to use this as a stepping stone,” Jackline, 35, of Machakos County, said after earning her certificate. She developed an interest in briquette making and now dreams of working to make renewable energy more affordable and accessible to all. “I hope to have a long-term career in it.”

Jackline and 53 other women celebrated their accomplishment, cheered on by wPOWER Hub staff and facilitators, during the closing ceremony at the Africa Brotherhood Church (ABC) in Kathiani, Machakos County.

The wPOWER Hub, at the Wangari Maathai Institute will now place these women at the wPOWER Hub Network, a group of women clean energy entrepreneurs trained by the wPOWER Hub. The goal, at the end, is for the women to develop the capacity to catalyze change, inspire, empower, transform and become champions of sustainable clean energy.

“This is such an important program for us,” Prof Kiama Gitahi, the Director, Wangari Maathai Institute, told the graduates. “We are so proud of all of you. We’re excited to see how your entrepreneurship journey will progress.”



DorothySustainable Clean Energy Entrepreneurship Training: Machakos County
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Wanjira Mathai Announced as Speaker! – C2 Montréal

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While climate change presents an urgent global challenge for all, studies indicate that it’s women who often face the brunt of the consequences. This is part of the reason wPower Hub Director Wanjira Mathai – daughter of 2004 Nobel Peace Prize-winning political activist Wangari Maathai – believes African environmentalism needs women at the helm.

The wPower Hub is a partnership network aimed at training and empowering 8,000 female clean energy entrepreneurs to provide clean energy access to more than 3.5 million people in the developing world. It advocates female leadership and entrepreneurship at the local level, promotes sustainable energy practices and gives the necessary training to ensure long-term employment locally while achieving goals globally.

At last year’s conference, when Chelsea Clinton was asked what exceptional women she’d like to see on the C2 stage, her first choice came without hesitation: Wanjira.

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DorothyWanjira Mathai Announced as Speaker! – C2 Montréal
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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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Professor Kiama Gitahi warns that human beings are rapidly destabilising the Earth’s key life support systems; but he is determined to give his contribution to conserve the environment along the lines of Kenya’s most famous environmentalist, the late Nobel Laureate Professor Wangari Maathai.

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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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A recently developed study by the wPOWER Hub at the Wangari Maathai Institute, indicates that awareness on clean energy benefits in selected areas of Kiambu County in Kenya is relatively low with only 39% citing importance of clean energy, citing negative likely impact of smoke like chest complication and eyes illness.

wPOWER Hub (Partnership on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Renewables) is working to unlock this largely untapped potential of women and women’s groups to help fill the “last mile” gap in the supply chain to reach areas lacking energy access. This potential on women was enhanced through a three day community training on sustainable clean energy entrepreneurship that was conducted in Karura, Kiambu County. A total of 39 women and youth were equipped with skills and knowledge on clean energy to adopt, use and become entrepreneurs of clean technologies like briquettes, solar lighting and clean cook stoves.


wPOWER Hub training group in Karura, Kiambu County

In Kenya, indoor air pollution attributes to more than 14,000 deaths annually from inefficient burning of biomass for cooking energy and lighting solutions. wPOWER Hub aims to train more than 950 women and youth in 19 regions in Kenya on sustainable clean energy entrepreneurship by 2017.

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