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Nairobi to host prestigious climate awards ahead of COP27

Clean energy trailblazers from Africa will be at the forefront of this year’s Ashden Awards, a prestigious international awards which scours the world for the most innovative initiatives implementing clean and accessible energy and natural climate solutions.

This year the awards ceremony is being held for the first time in its 21-year history in Nairobi, Kenya as well as London.

Africa once again holds a strong position, with four out of the six finalist organisations from the global south being based in Africa.

The 2022 Ashden Award Nairobi ceremony will bring to life the stories and solutions of organisations creating the work of the future, including those of African innovators boosting green skills across the continent.

The ceremony, to be held on  October 27, 2022 bringing together environmental entrepreneurs, policy makers and climate experts, is being held in advance of the international climate summit COP27 (7-17 November in Egypt) in order to demonstrate low carbon solutions.

Kenyan environmentalist Wanjira Mathai will be giving the keynote speech. Other speakers include Jane Kimani, Director of East Africa Operations at Angaza which won an Ashde Award in 2018 for its exemplary work in energy access and financing Climate Solutions; Amer Alkayed Steering Committee Member from Global Refugee Led Network; Julius Court, British Deputy High Commissioner; and Pamela Sittoni from the Nation Media Group.

The eight global South finalists are competing to win awards in categories relating to improving training and numbers of skilled workers in the energy access sector, including in agriculture and humanitarian settings. There is also a category focusing on natural climate solutions in rainforest environments. The projects have been selected for delivering innovative and scalable climate solutions and providing inspiration about the journey to zero carbon.

“Clean energy has the potential to create 14 million jobs in Africa alone by 2030,” says Ashden’s CEO, Harriet Lamb.  “But only if we urgently boost the skills and support for those roles – from sales agents in Togo to solar technicians in Zimbabwe. It is incredibly exciting to see that African entrepreneurs are once again leading the way in this rapidly expanding sector that underpins so many livelihoods.”

Ceremony attendees will hear about organisations supporting refugees and farming communities, tackling gender inequality, and creating new opportunities for young people.

The Awards night will share the stories of these pioneers with thought-provoking discussions and powerful films, and explore how they, and others like them, could receive support to reach their full potential.

“Over half a billion people in Africa still have no access to electricity. Yet the solutions exist. We will be taking the inspiring stories from the Award winners, celebrated in Nairobi, to COP27 in Egypt and asking governments urgently to support and fund such initiatives in order to open opportunities and tackle climate injustices at the pace needed,” added Lamb.

The four Ashden Award finalists from Africa include: Kakuma VenturesKenya, creating clean energy, internet connections and new jobs for refugee camp residents, Soko FreshKenya, providing sustainable cold storage for smallholders, matched with taking products to market, Energy Generation, Togo,  ground-breaking training centre empowering entrepreneurs to create solutions for Africans by Africans – sparking opportunities for women, Zonful Energy, Zimbabwe, providing training in the solar sector for rural young people, through collaboration with colleges and NGOs, alongside connections to jobs.

Other finalists from India, Peru and Indonesia will also be celebrated at the ceremony and the winners announced, with films of each winning organisation premiered.

Winners will then attend the global Ashden Awards ceremony in London on 2 Nov joining those vying for three UK awards. The London awards ceremony will show the work of each of the winning organisations.

Harriet Lamb, continued: “We are at a decisive point in history. We know we will move to a low carbon society. The question is whether we will do so in time. That is why we are spotlighting these trailblazing solutions that should scale and spread; and that is why, as part of the coalition campaign Power Up we are calling on COP27 to direct funding into access to energy and so power a thriving, green economy.”

By Joseph Ng’ang’a

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