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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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Empowering Women through Clean Cooking and lighting Technology and Entrepreneurship

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September 28, 2015

NAIROBI –In efforts to promote the role of women in clean energy solutions to climate change, wPOWER Hub of the University of Nairobi, on Wednesday, September 16th, 2015 organized a three day community training in Maragua, Central Kenya, to showcase how clean cooking and lighting technologies play important roles in unleashing the potential of women for a better future.

The aim of the event was to raise awareness among the community, that access to clean cooking and lighting solutions and environmental stewardship are critical drivers to gender equality. It also provided opportunity for all participants to learn something new, to make new partnerships and to inform the wPOWER Hub work to ensure the empowering effect of clean energy, technology and entrepreneurship –on women in the community.

According to a baseline survey conducted by the wPOWER Hub in the region’s six villages Mung’etho,Kiyo,Gituamba,Kamuiru,Matamya and Ngainye, 85% of the community members use fuel wood, with charcoal taking 9% and kerosene taking 1%.

While addressing the audience, Prof.Kiama Gitahi, wPOWER Hub Academic Director said “The problems that face the world today cannot be solved without the full participation of women and only when women make progress does their community make progress too”.


Prof.Kiama Gitahi addressing participants

The training themed “Sustainable Clean energy entrepreneurship” had lead facilitators from wPOWER Hub Partners Care and the Green Belt Movement. Through presentation of success stories, the training encouraged, engaged and interacted with grassroots women.More than 50 women were trained in the process.

Lack of access to energy, be it for cooking or for lighting, and resulting energy poverty are issues that need to be tackled today, and women are ready to play their part as innovators, entrepreneurs, policy makers and consumers!

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wPOWER HubEmpowering Women through Clean Cooking and lighting Technology and Entrepreneurship
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Charity Njeri Gachanja, is living her dream of contributing to environmental conservation and women’s health in central Kenya and beyond, through the provision of clean, and affordable energy saving jikos.
She was motivated by her mother, who tirelessly worked with Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai at the Green Belt Movement, to plant trees and educate women on the importance of conserving their environment. Her mother also made cooking pots out of clay, and this is where she got her inspiration, diversifying to cookstove liners.

According to a baseline study done in Kahuro, by the wPOWER Hub, more than 50%of the population,uses fuel wood as the main source of energy for cooking, while 32%use kerosene.Only 22% are using energy saving jikos.

“Our women need to be told the importance of clean cookstoves, that it benefits both the environment and themselves, I have literally moved from nothing to something, thanks to my jiko business’’ said Charity who grew up in Kiria, Muranga County. Charity started her entrepreneurial journey from an empowerment training seminar similar to the ongoing wPOWER Hub community trainings on sustainable clean energy.

She started by distributing two liners to each village in her community, at no cost.
Today, Charity sells 1,000 liners monthly out of which she reports making more than $800.”I discovered that it was a lucrative venture and I’ve never looked back,” she said

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