By Samuel Ouma
Equity Bank Kenya has launched a clean cooking initiative in Kenya’s schools to mitigate environmental degradation.
The lender is committed to helping primary and secondary schools to install sustainable and safe cooking technologies such as steam-based cooking, biofuels, sustainable biomass, and Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG).
The initiative is known as the “clean cooking project.”
Speaking during the launch at Alliance High School, the Bank’s Managing Director and CEO James Mwangi said Equity Bank would cover both the cost of equipment and installation.
“Wood-fuel is not a sustainable model for our planet as it has led to adverse environmental degradation and depletion of our much-needed forest cover. Lack of appropriate financing and innovative technologies has been the biggest barrier to clean energy transition. To close this gap, we have decided to partner with learning institutions to facilitate them access and install more environmentally friendly cooking and lighting facilities,” he said.
All along, 97 percent of Kenya’s primary and secondary schools have been using firewood derived from forests as cooking fuel, according to the Clean Cooking Alliance of Kenya (CCAK) study on ‘Use of Biomass Cookstoves and Fuels in institutions in Kenya report of 2018.
The report also noted that one million metric tonnes of wood-fuel are used by the institutions every year, with a value of ksh10 billion.
By embracing the transition, the schools are estimated to save up to 40 percent of the cooking and lighting budget.
Education Cabinet Secretary Pro. George Magoha speaking at the same time, said it is high time to adopt safe and clean cooking in schools.
“When you look at the negative effects of climate change you will understand its importance. My call today is for all schools in Kenya to quickly follow suit and embrace clean energy solutions. This will contribute in reversing environmental degradation, save costs and improve health outcomes. If all schools switched to cleaner alternatives, we will not only preserve our trees but will also significantly reduce our carbon footprint,” reiterated Prof. Magoha.
The project will help Kenya achieve its goals in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030 under the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC).