UN agency taps experts in counties’ solar project

Sunday April 21 2019

The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has contracted Energy4Impact

The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has contracted Energy4Impact to provide consultancy in the implementation of the Energy and Cash Plus pilot initiative in Kenya. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Samuel Baya
By Samuel Baya
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The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has contracted Energy4Impact to provide consultancy in the implementation of the Energy and Cash Plus pilot initiative in Kenya.

The programme, dubbed Mwangaza Mashinani, is funded by the Swedish government and Unicef.

Its aim is to ensure that the most vulnerable populations in all the 47 counties are not left behind in adopting the use of solar energy. Sweden has donated Sh100 million to implement the pilot project in Kilifi and Garissa counties.

A report titled Completion of Vulnerability Assessments in Garissa and Kilifi for the Energy Cash Plus Initiative says the project will be piloted for a period of 20 months, which runs from July 2018 to February 28, 2020.

“The goal of this project is to generate evidence on how improving customer affordability for solar lanterns and home systems impacts the recipients’ sense of ownership and quality of life of children and their families.

“The objective is to support Unicef, Garissa and Kilifi devolved governments to identify and target 1,500 beneficiary households with children under the age of 14 years to enhance sustainable energy access through solar lanterns and solar home systems,” the report says.

These families will be offered a top-up to their cash transfer to allow them to purchase a basic solar home system or solar lanterns, with different payment models being tested.

Selected households will be supported to maximise the use of the systems and create opportunities for income-generating activities and a behavioural change strategy will target relevant stakeholders.

The project also aims to develop sustainable energy markets and increase penetration of solutions to the most vulnerable households, including those in the lowest-income quintile.

Since the project was launched in Kilifi on Monday, hopes were high that vulnerable families will get a new lease of life. School going children will be able to study at night using solar power.

Swedish Ambassador to Kenya Anna Jardfelt (above) said the project’s electricity is meant to reach the poorest communities. Ms Jardfelt toured some of the targeted villages.

“We were looking at the number of households in the community, including elderly people, so there were a number of criteria. It took a long time before we could identify these two counties but with Unicef we managed,” she said.