Story by KNA
Equity Bank has started an initiative to support learning institutions to move from wood-fuel based cooking to cleaner, sustainable, and environmentally friendly sources of cooking.
Equity Bank Foundation Director of Energy and Environment Erick Naivasha said they have realized schools have been cutting tress for cooking, hence the need for the use of clean energy.
“We hope to continue supporting schools in the tree planting exercise and at the same time save trees by supporting the same institution in the use of clean energy,” said Naivasha.
Speaking during the seeing off to schools of the beneficiaries under the bank’s scholarship program dubbed ‘Wings to Fly’ at Kerugoya Boys Secondary, Naivasha said plans are at an advanced stage to start supporting the school in the use of the renewable energy.
“Wood-fuel is not a sustainable model for our planet as it has led to adverse environmental degradation and depletion of our much-needed forest cover,” said Naivasha.
He said lack of appropriate financing and innovative technologies has been the biggest barrier to clean energy transition.
“In order to close the gap, we have decided to partner with learning institutions to facilitate the access and install more environmentally friendly cooking facilities that will help combat climate change by reducing fumes emitted by burning wood and also help the government in achieving its projected 10% tree coverage by 2022,” he added.
According to Naivasha, the initiative targets to conserve trees, which act as the lungs of the world.
“We intend to help in combating many environmental challenges that have come as a result cutting trees.”
Naivasha said trees, which have taken up to 40 years to grow, are being felled in a matter of minutes.
He said although the bank in the past heavily invested in the tree planting exercise in schools, there is still a big challenge with many of the institutions heavily consuming firewood thus not adding value to the environment.
Equity has rolled out the project in a number of national secondary schools across the country with the aim of converting kitchen infrastructure into clean energy that is not dependent on firewood.
“Many of the indigenous trees you find in the school compounds take up to 30 years to mature. When schools cut such species for firewood, it becomes a blow to the environment much as the felled trees are replaced by several tree seedlings,” he noted.
The Wings to Fly program under the Equity bank’s this year awarded 78 scholarships to the needy and bright students in Kirinyaga, who scored 350 marks and above.