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EEP Project of the year 2016 winner announcement

Photo: iSmart Kenya

Photo: iSmart Kenya

During the recent Knowledge Exchange Forum, the Energy & Environment Partnership programme (EEP) selected the winner for the ”EEP project of the year award”.

All ongoing or completed EEF funded projects were eligible to submit a nomination for this award. In total 16 applications were received for the award, of which three were shortlisted.

All three shortlisted projects were asked to present their project and nomination at the Knowledge Exchange Forum that took place on the 20th of September in Nairobi. The three shortlisted projects were Burn manufacturers (producing clean Jikokoa stoves), iSmart (selling cook stoves in peri urabn and rural areas of Kenya) and Redavia (Rental Solar Power for Food Processing in Tanzania).

All three projects provided excellent presentations on their EEP supported activities and with that the job of the selection committee became quite difficult. Eventually,

The EEP project of the Year title was awarded to the iSmart Kenya.

EEP Project director Wim Jonker-Klunne and Claire Baker from iSmart Kenya receiving the Project of the Year award

EEP Project director Wim Jonker-Klunne and Claire Baker from iSmart Kenya receiving the Project of the Year award

iSmart has been implementing an EEP funded project that supports the sales of improved cookstoves in peri urban and rural areas of Kenya. The project completed its EEP supported activities ahead of schedule and exceeded its targets, providing training and employment for 233 women and youth, and completing sales of 5,273 cookstoves. iSmart focuses on employment of disadvantaged women and youth, and through sales of clean cookstoves that not only positively affect the lives of both the customers and the sales agents economically but also bring health and environmental benefits. The project has created a clear development impact and has proven a successful business model in a challenging environment.

Congratulations to the iSmart team for this excellent performance and for winning the EEP Project of the Year Award. Next to the recognition that comes with winner the award, the project will be offered a speaking slot at the African Utility Week in Cape Town in May 2017 with the EEP programme proving travel and accommodation for one representative of iSmart to travel to Cape Town for this.

The EEP wants to thank all projects that entered the Project of the Year completion for their time and efforts in doing so. We specifically thank the three shortlisted projects to present their nomination at short notice at our KEF.

Read more about iSmart here>>

IEA: Global energy investment down 8% in 2015 with flows signalling move towards cleaner energy

A newly released report by the International Energy Agency EIA shows that global energy investment fell by 8% in 2015, with a drop in oil and gas upstream spending outweighing continued robust investment in renewables, electricity networks and energy efficiency.

The report provides a comprehensive insight to the investments in the energy sector, across fuels, technologies and countries. The analysis reveal that the energy sector is undergoing extensive a reorientation toward low-carbon energy and efficiency.  The government policies play a significant role in the energy transition.

While the report shows promising signs toward the clean energy investment on a global scale, it warns that “investment in key clean energy technologies needs to be further ramped up to put the world economy on track for climate stabilisation”.

Read the full article here>>

 

EEP project of the year / Eco-Fuel Africa

ECO-FUEL AFRICA WINS THE TITLE OF EEP PROJECT OF THE YEAR 2015

 

The Ugandan based Social Enterprise Eco-Fuel Africa won the prestigious title “Project of the Year 2015” at the annual Knowledge Exchange Forum (KEF) arranged by the Energy and Environment Partnership Programme of Southern and East Africa (EEP S&EA).

 

Sanga Moses, the Energy Innovator and CEO of Eco-fuel Africa, told the audience how he came about to fight the energy problem in Uganda. “On a day that I made a journey to meet my mother I met kid sister carrying wood and as she saw me she started crying. First I thought she was happy to see me but then I found out the she cried because she was tired to miss school at least twice a week to carry wood instead of attending school”. Seeing his younger sister crying and on the verge of losing the only opportunity she had to improve her life, inspired Sanga to think about an alternative source of fuel. To solve this problem Sanga quit his office job and with savings of just 500 USD he came up with an idea that he hopes that will fix part of the energy crises in Uganda.

 

He started Eco-fuel Africa, a Social Enterprise that works with the local communities in Uganda to convert locally sourced farm and municipal waste into clean cooking fuel briquettes that averts the use of wood-based fuels that depletes the forest. The users of the briquettes benefit from a product that burns longer, burns cleaner and is substantially cheaper than the charcoal that is regularly used.

 

Up till now Eco-Fuel Africa has created over 5,800 jobs for the people at the base of the pyramid by creating income sources for over 3,000 farmers and over 2,000 micro-retailers. The business model of Eco-Fuel Africa is simple. Farmers burn their farm waste, like coffee husk, sugarcane waste and corn waste, in basic kilns made out of used oil drums to create a char that can be turned into briquettes. These briquettes are then distributed by a network of micro-retailers that are exclusively single mothers as Sanga initial motivation for the business was to enable kids of single parents to enrol and stay in school. The strength of the business idea behind Eco-fuel Africa is that it brings an added social value to the local community by its decentralised approach that keeps the profits among local farmers, briquette producers, retailers and consumers.

 

Thanks to the funds received by EEP, Eco-Fuel Africa has been able to drastically scale up and fast track its business and today they reach over 56,000 households on a daily basis, provides 5,800 jobs for people at the base of the pyramid and has enabled 20,000 kids to enrol and stay in school. But as Sanga points out, Eco-Fuel Africa is just in an early phase on its “mission to solve the energy crises in Uganda”.

 

As EEP “Project of the Year 2015” Eco-Fuel Africa won the opportunity to present this extraordinary project at the African Utility Week conference in Cape Town from 17 – 19 May 2016.

 

Learn more about Eco-fuel Africa: http://ecofuelafrica.co.ug/

Learn more about the EEP S&EA: http://eepafrica.org/

Learn more about the African Utility Week conference: http://www.african-utility-week.com/

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Invitation – Knowledge Exchange Forum 2015

EEP KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE FORUM 2015

The EEP S&EA will be hosting its second Knowledge Exchange Forum (KEF) on 3 December 2015 in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

As a Programme Director of EEP I would like to encourage all our project developers to seriously consider to attend our forthcoming Knowledge Exchange Forum. The KEF has been set up with you in mind. The main focus will be on exchanging experiences and knowledge, but also to come in contact with other EEP projects and the EEP team.

We are very pleased to have the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) joining us at the KEF to present their Sustainable Energy Marketplace for RE/EE projects. This tool can be very beneficial to EEP projects that are looking to upscale after the current EEP support. IRENA will send the virtual market place project manager to present the market place and, in a dedicated working session, to work with you as project developers in showcasing this tool.

At the KEF we will be focusing on your experiences in a number of “round tables” in which you can share your experiences, and learn from others, around a number of topics. In the programme you will find a preliminary list of round table topics. But we are very open to suggestions for additional topics from your side as well.

And last, but certainly not least, during the event we will announce the winner of the EEP Project of Year award. Just to remind you: the award is not only a recognition of the excellent work of your project, but we also have secured a speaking slot at the leading Africa Utility Week / Clean Power Africa conference in Cape Town to present your project! EEP will cover the costs of travel, accommodation and conference fees for a representative of the winning project to go to Cape Town for this mid-May!

To conclude, I sincerely hope you will be able to join us in Dar es Salaam for our East Africa Knowledge Exchange Forum and I am looking forward to meet you there!

 

Kind regards,

Wim Jonker Klunne

EEP Programme Director

 

Click here to view the agenda and register>>

Or follow this link to register: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FMHGZDZ  (If the link does not work, you can email your registration to fred.eklund@kpmg.fi). Participation to the event is free of charge but a registration is compulsory.


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Photos: EEP Knowledge Exchange Forum 2014  ©EEP Coordination Office

BURN breaks gender roles in Kenya and sells 10,000 cookstoves monthly


ECO Team visited BURN Manufacturing in Kenya and met with Mr. Boston Nyer, the Chief Product Officer. Read our interview with Boston about the project and its recipe for the success.


How did the idea of the BURN Manufacturing come about?

There was a product called the JikoPoa, which was a wood stove that BURN Design Lab, our non-profit sister organization had developed. The product was the top performing wood-burning stove in testing and focus groups and was designed for a Kenyan contract manufacturer to supply distribution by The Paradigm Project. Although one of the top Kenyan manufacturers was contracted, they were only able to make 1,000 stoves per month and the fit and finish was poor. At this point, we decided that we would need to set up our own factory if this model of local, high quality manufacturing was going to work. The idea of BURN Manufacturing was born from this learning in August of 2011.

Please tell us about the early stages of BURN?

BURN’s launch product, the jikokoa, and first assembly facility were launched in August of 2013. They sourced kits made by a contract manufacturer in China until November of 2014 when the full in-country modern manufacturing facility was launched. Today BURN makes 550 stoves in a day, which is about one stove a minute. BURN has more than 100 employees in Kenya with more than 50% female.

How and why did you develop the jikokoa stove?

The jikokoa was developed over 2.5 years of user-centric design and testing by a talented and committed team spanning from Seattle, Washington to Nairobi, Kenya. The jikokoa had more than 100 key iterations based on consumer feedback and performance. We finally launched the product when we noticed that the test users were demanding to buy the prototypes. We’ve been through two major generations of the product with the third launching in early 2016. The jikokoa G3 will have twice the durability and improves upon the usability and aesthetics of the second generation.

Can you tell us more about BURNs mission?

BURN’s primary mission is to save lives and forests in the developing world by designing, locally manufacturing and distribution clean-burning cook stoves. However, they also want to be a good place to work with safe and healthy working conditions. They offer good benefits: maternal leave, loans and ample opportunity for promotion. The jobs are low skill factory work so anyone prepared to work hard can work in the factory to make jikokoa stoves. BURN aims to break gender norms in Kenya and gives equal opportunities to all employees.

What’s the price of the jikokoa stove?

The retail price including tax is currently USD 38. We would like to sell it for USD 40, but due to the inflation it is USD 38.

What has the EEP grant meant to BURN?

BURN has impacted the lives of more than 500,000 people and without the EEP funding BURN would not exist today. The grant directly unlocked investments the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and Acumen Fund.

Do you have any lesson learnt that you want to share with other businesses?

Our strong team has propelled our success.

What kind of difficulties has BURN faced?

Raising money is difficult. Creating modern manufacturing facilities in Sub-Saharan Africa is also hard. In Kenya there is very limited support, for example, if a tool or machine breaks it is difficult to get it repaired and can shut the factory down for a month. It is also imperative to hire, develop and motivate the staff. Finding and keeping good employees can be difficult.

What has been the major advantages of BURN?

There are several pillars to BURN. First, is a good team from top to bottom. The product has both a very strong value proposition as well as user experience. BURN’s strategy of local manufacturing allows for the best product at the best price. Lastly, BURN drives the demand in the marketplace through marketing and market development.

Where do you see BURN in 5 and 10 years?

After 5 to 10 years BURN plans to be in all countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, first we will concentrate on East Africa then West Africa, followed by Ethiopia and Mozambique.


 ECO also had a chance to interview Maryvine Mokaya, an employee of BURN.

What is your job description at BURN?

I’ve been a ‘cleaner’ since January 2015.

How did you hear about BURN?

The jikokoa is very popular and a friend told me about the opportunity to work for BURN.

Why did you want to work at BURN?

I’m aiming higher and want to develop myself. The staff members and workmates are great and the pay is better than in other companies. I’m working 9 hours a day, 7-16:30, 5 days a week.

Are you yourself using a BURN stove at home?

Yes I received a free jikokoa from BURN. Before I used KES 3,000 a month for charcoal, now I only use KES 2,000. In my family, relatives and friends there are a total of 7 jikokoa´s.

 Learn more>>

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