Clean Cooking Solutions should be a Priority for Africa.

By Sarah Nyakio

Exposure to household air pollution kills 3.8 million people yearly. In my country Kenya for example, household air pollution claims over 21,500 lives each year.

Countries have committed to ensuring universal access to clean, modern energy for cooking by the year 2030 as part of 17 global development goals, but low levels of investment in the clean cooking sector are hindering progress.

As part of the commitment to raising the visibility of clean cooking and renewable energy agenda the Africa Biogas Partnership Program (ABPP) has been spearheading an initiative to provide cleaner energy in Africa. To date, the Africa Biogas Partnership Program (ABPP) has enabled more than 500,000 people in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Burkina Face to have access to clean and affordable energy.

In a spectacular evening event held on Monday, November 4, 2019, the Africa Biogas Partnership celebrated 10 years of powering lives in Africa through clean cooking, sustainable agriculture and sustainable development goal 7, ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

In attendance of this inaugural event was H.E Moussa Kabore, Special Adviser to the President of Burkina Faso, Ambassador of Burkina Faso to Kenya H.E Madame Madina Ganou/Diaby Kassamba and Esther Reilink, Senior Policy Advisor Energy, Ministry of Foreign affair Netherlands among other stakeholders and partners.

Success stories

In 10 years, ABPP has built more than 70,000 biodigesters in sub-Saharan Africa. During the event, attendees were able to witness through a documentary about the achievements and successes of the program. The lives of four beneficiaries from four countries; Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, shared their stories in the 15 minutes video as they explained how their lives had changed for the better since the inception of the program. The attendees also enjoyed a photo exhibition of some beneficiaries from the five countries.

The construction of biogas plants by ABPP has tremendously improved the living conditions of many households in the five countries. Particularly, women and children have improved their health condition as cooking on biogas is smokeless. Application of bio-slurry (an organic fertilizer) in the agricultural fields has also improved soil fertility and boosted production. Employment opportunities, too, have increased through the domestic biogas business sector.

Felister Kimunya, a Kenyan farmer who spoke during the event confirmed that her life and that of her family had immensely changed financially, economically and health-wise since she got a biodigester in 2009.

Speaking during the event Jean-Marc Sika, Hivos East Africa Renewable energy Program Manager recognized the leadership demonstrated by the Government of Burkina Faso is working to increase access to clean cooking and sustainable agriculture in the country.

“The Government of Burkina Faso recognizes the serious threats that climate change and increasing land degradation pose to the country. The adoption of renewable energy sources is very high on the political agenda. The president has committed to providing subsidies for the adoption of biodigesters until 2025.” Jean said.

H.E Moussa Kabore, Special Adviser to the President of Burkina Faso stated that charcoal and firewood is the main source of fuel in Burkina Faso which has led to increased deforestation.

10 years

Hivos East Africa Regional director Mendi Njonjo expressed her sentiments clearly stating that the 10 years journey has been immensely rewarding and a learning curve in the energy sector.

“I am looking forward to seeing the increase of biodigesters in Africa and more policy and advocacy work around renewable energy,” she concluded.

As the world nears 2030, the imperative now is to continue building on these gains and work towards achieving a cleaner, sustainable and renewable energy world, with zero deaths from household air pollution.

Special Recognition

The celebrations and reflections of the 10 years journey culminated as Ms Mendi Njonjo recognized the support of H.E Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, President of Burkina Faso efforts in leading an alliance in West Africa for the expansion of the bio-digester technology in Sahel countries.

Ms Mendi presented a crystal art glass award to H.E Moussa Kabore, Special Adviser to the President of Burkina Faso on behalf of the President of Burkina Faso.