Equity Bank to fund clean cooking initiatives in schools

Written By: Ronald Owili

PHOTO | Courtesy

Equity Bank Kenya will provide funds needed by learning institutions to transition from the use of wood fuels to modern cooking and lighting solutions.

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Through the Clean Cooking Project, the lender will support primary and secondary schools in Kenya install sustainable and safe cooking technologies such as steam-based cooking, biofuels, sustainable biomass and Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG).

“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. Lack of appropriate financing and innovative technologies has been the biggest barrier to clean energy transition. To close this gap, we have decided to partner with learning institutions to facilitate them access and install more environmentally friendly cooking and lighting facilities,” said Equity Group CEO Dr James Mwangi during the launch of the initiative at Alliance High School.

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Clean Cooking Alliance of Kenya in its 2018 report estimated that 97% of primary and secondary schools in the country use firewood derived from forests as cooking fuel.

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According to the Clean Cooking Alliance of Kenya (CCAK) study on ‘Use of Biomass Cookstoves and Fuels in institutions in Kenya report of 2018’, 97% of primary and secondary schools use firewood derived from forests as cooking fuel.

“For us to migrate from wood-based fuel solutions in our institutions, we require a concerted effort from the management of the various institutions, energy technology providers, end-users and government agencies,” Dr Mwangi added.

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Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha said the government would leverage on the initiative to encourage adoption of clean and safe cooking in schools.

PHOTO | Courtesy

The new installation at Alliance High School will also be used as a model to be replicated in other schools.

“When you look at the negative effects of climate change you will understand its importance. My call today is for all schools in Kenya to quickly follow suit and embrace clean energy solutions. This will contribute in reversing environmental degradation, save costs and improve health outcomes. If all schools switched to cleaner alternatives, we will not only preserve our trees but will also significantly reduce our carbon footprint,” said Prof. Magoha.

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CCAK estimates that 1 million metric tonnes of wood-fuel is used by primary and secondary schools every year with a value of KES 10 billion.

The increased over-reliance on wood and charcoal as the primary sources of fuel by institutions requires urgent attention for Kenya to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by the year 2030 under the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC).

It is estimated that schools can save up to 40% of their cooking and lighting budget with adoption of green cooking solutions.

Equity Group targets to plant 35 million trees to contribute and rally the country towards the achievement of 10% forest cover.

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