East African climate innovators bag top prize at COP26
Climate innovators from Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have won the prestigious 2021 Ashden Awards at the UN climate summit COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland.
The Ashden Awards, organized by a London-based charity that works in sustainable energy and development, honor pioneering organizations from the United Kingdom and low-income countries working to lower carbon emissions and build a fairer world.
The awards were announced on Thursday, November 4, in Glasgow, where world leaders and international organizations have gathered to agree on a global plan for tackling the climate crisis.
Two Ugandan, one Kenya organization and another from DR Congo, emerged winners and are to receive grants, publicity and support to grow and replicate their innovations.
YICE Uganda, a grassroots initiative training women, young people and refugees, in regenerative farming techniques, won the Ashden Award for Regenerative Agriculture.
New Energy Nexus Uganda, which provides low-cost clean energy loans and business coaching to rural community-based organizations, won the Ashden Award for Energy Access Innovation.
Mbou Mon Tour from DR Congo won the Ashden Award for Natural Climate Solutions with its unique community-based forest management initiative, which combines a range of community income generation schemes to protect the endangered bonobo great ape.
Kenyan organization Solar Freeze, providers of sustainable and affordable refrigeration service for food and medicine in refugee camps, won the Ashden Award for Humanitarian Energy.
According to a statement from the organizers, three more of the continent’s low carbon pioneers were also announced as runners-up.
They are KOKO Networks and SNV from Kenya, and Sendea Academy in Uganda.
KOKO Networks provides ‘ethanol ATMs’ supplying cleaner cooking fuel made from sugar industry waste.
SNV, a Kakuma market-based energy access project, supports local clean energy entrepreneurs in the Kakuma refugee camp and their local host community, focusing on cooking and lighting.
The Sendea Academy is a collective of locally-owned SMEs driving up standards and providing training in the off-grid renewables sector.
The four winners and three runners-up were chosen from over 800 applicants for their work creating resilience, green economies – including jobs and training – and fairer societies.