Clean Air in Kenya
Kenya has the cleanest air and least toxic environment in the world. So says a 2017 report by Eco Experts which cited data from the International Energy Agency and World Health Organization (WHO).
The honor has been hard won and is the result of long-term, concerted efforts by government agencies and NGOs alike. Indeed, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) tells us that “Kenya considers activities to reduce short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) part of its efforts to improve public health, promote sustainable development and eradicate poverty.” With a previous focus on mitigating SLCP activities in households, agriculture, and waste, Kenya now aims to reduce black carbon emissions from industrial sites, while continuing to raise the profile of SLCPs among local and national stakeholders.
To contribute to clean air initiatives the FSD team in Kakamega, Kenya is part of “Greening Local Communities,” a four-year project whose goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of marginalized populations by promoting the use of sustainable green energy interventions. This initiative originally began as a means of raising awareness about the benefits of sustainable green energy interventions and decrease the poverty-related, excessive use of non-renewable wood fuel.
This ongoing initiative carried out in conjunction with FSD’s partner, PAHEDA (Poverty & Hunger Eradication Development Action), is designed to sensitize local farmers about the benefits of biomass energy. Based on need and willingness to commit to full project participation, 10 farmers (both individual farmers and farmer groups) are being recruited as the initial cohort for the project. These farmers will tour leading biogas plants in Kenya, and receive training on how bio-digesters are constructed and maintained. PAHEDA and FSD will also assist in the construction of model biogas plants to serve as local demonstration centers for biomass energy interventions.
At the end of the four-year period, the project will have directly trained 100 farmers, constructed 10 biogas plants, improved farm output in 20 homes, conserved forest cover, and reduced the time wasted in collecting wood fuel. Relatedly, although this is the most prevalent cooking fuel in Kenya, it can have deleterious effects on the environment--both in terms of deforestation and environmental toxins--and thus the interest in reducing it use. The project is also designed to empower women, who will no longer have to spend long hours collecting firewood for cooking--and will thus have more time to spend on economic activities. At the same time, it will allow girls, who also participated in firewood collection to focus on their schoolwork and academic performance.
We are excited by the progress our partners are making in Kenya toward clean air and the standards Kenya is setting. If you would like to join our teams in supporting these initiatives in Kenya or at one of our other six sites, please visit us here.