A group of women from Kiambu County have called for active involvement in the energy sector to be able to come up with cheap technologies that could help weed out poverty in the County.
The women under the Rural Women in Energy umbrella have improvised cooking technologies such as biogas, fireless cooker and briquettes in efforts to move away from cooking using firewood.
Their efforts have not gone unnoticed as one of them were feted during the Rural Women Energy Awards last year, leading to their technology being embraced nationally.
Others have tapped into the biogas energy for lighting while some have assembled solar panels parts for lighting.
They developed the eco-friendly energy solutions following years of being unconnected to the national power grid, and suffering from using manual technologies that posed health risks.
The women said empowering them through funding and training would enable them improve on the technologies therefore spurring the country’s achievement of the Big Four Agenda.
“As the biggest consumers of energy for cooking and lighting, the rural woman should participate more in the production chain which is not the case. We need to be more involved and through the use of these technologies, we can offer solutions for accelerated growth,” said Mary Wairimu, the chairperson of the Lari women group which won one of the awards last year.
They improvised the technologies after a number of them suffered chest complications and severe headaches from the smoke emitted when cooking with firewood.
Though some still use firewood due to poverty, they have taken it to themselves to sensitize their colleagues on the need to use renewable energies in their daily operations.
“With adequate funding, we can improvise water pumps to engage in agriculture. With solar panels, we would be keeping poultry on a commercial scale. We would also have coolers to reduce post-harvest loses that we suffer from. We would not only be empowered but also it this would create a source of income,” said Mary Rigathi, a member of a women group from Kiambaa Sub County.
The women groups were feted for their exemplary achievements in the Rural Women energy awards last year.
The convener of the awards and also an expert in the energy sector, James Ngomeli said women should be more involved in the production chain through connection to the power grid.
Speaking during the launch of this year’s awards at Ruiru town on Monday, Ngomeli said adequate funding and training of women, as the biggest consumers of power, should be the main drivers of the country’s economy on the Big Four Agenda areas.
“A huge part of the population is not doing productive work. If connected to the power grid or provided with renewable energy solutions, they can change the economic lifeline of the rural areas,” he said.
He called for more investment in research and innovations saying the country invested heavily on importing products that could be locally made.
“If we can make water pumps, transformers, solar panels, it can go a long way in attaining the Big Four Agenda on food security, especially in rural Kenya. Renewable energy would be a key enabler in reducing costs of doing business,” he said.
He called on women to work closely with local universities that had invested in innovations to come up with solutions to the challenges that they faced.
The year’s awards will be held in November.
By Muoki Charles