- 8th February 2022
by Tom Randa (African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS)), Paul Osogo (ACTS), Joanes Atela (ACTS) and Jon Leary (Gamos Ltd.).
This blog from the MECS Kenya team at the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) describes the formation of an eCooking (electric cooking) Community of Practice (CoP), which aims to bring together Kenya’s clean cooking and electrification sectors. The CoP builds upon existing collaborations between the Clean Cooking Association of Kenya (CCAK), Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) and ACTS and aims to create a community where the pioneers of Kenya’s emerging eCooking sector can freely exchange information on the latest developments in this fast-moving sector and forge new strategic partnerships.
There is no doubt that eCooking is becoming an increasingly viable option in the Kenya clean cooking space as more than 75% of households and many institutions get connected to electricity either from the National grid or off-grid systems. If eCooking can be made a reality, this will reduce the reliance on biomass as the primary cooking fuel (75% of Kenyan households in 2020). Various manufacturing firms have now availed a variety of energy-efficient electric cooking appliances in the Kenyan market, many of whom are providing flexible financing schemes and thus enhancing accessibility and affordability over the years. A strong body of evidence, including the Kenya eCookBook and ESMAP’s Cooking with Electricity: A Cost Perspective has proven that eCooking with energy-efficient appliances can be cheaper, and safer to the environment and human health. However some socioeconomic barriers such as unfavorable policies, en-rooted cultures and beliefs still have to be addressed if the eCooking agenda and vision is to be accomplished in Kenya.
There is a great opportunity for eCooking in Kenya as explored in the MECS Kenya Techno policy report and the ecooking potential in Kenya report. There is a growing interest and persistent efforts from all stakeholders in the clean cooking sector, the electrification sector, the Ministry of Energy among other partners in promoting the eCooking agenda. However, these efforts have not been adequately harmonized through strategic partnership by the clean cooking sector, electrification sector, private manufacturers, national governments and research institutions to give the eCooking agenda the trust it needs. Building on these efforts, MECS Kenya is keen to build a community of practice of all the players to work together towards promoting the eCooking agenda in Kenya and thus bridge the gap. This is a step in responding to the strategic multi-stakeholder engagement in eCooking as discussed in the report.
MECS Kenya and CCAK to partner in promoting eCooking agenda in Kenya
Building upon their successful collaboration during the Kenya Clean Cooking Week in 2021, the Clean Cooking Association of Kenya (CCAK) is partnering with MECS Kenya to advance the eCooking agenda in Kenya. CCAK is the association for clean cooking in Kenya with membership across the country, championing clean cooking efforts in Kenya. MECS Kenya is part of the global MECS programme fostering transitions to modern energy for cooking including eCooking through scientific and behavioral change researches, feasible fiscal mechanisms, and promoting the development and availability of appropriate technologies and policies. The Association led by the CEO, Mr. David Njugi is working on a MoU with MECS Kenya hosted by ACTS and led by Dr. Joanes Atela following their meeting held on 31st January 2022.
MECS Kenya has generated numerous evidence on clean cooking and cooking behaviors in Kenya while exploring the opportunities as well as challenges of transitioning to clean cooking and more specifically eCooking. CCAK has access to champions at the grassroots level promoting clean cooking. The coming together of the two organizations will see the establishment of a community of practice on eCooking with periodic dialogues to advance the agenda. The two partners have equally agreed to support the Ministry of Energy in the development of eCooking strategy following their experience and good work in the clean cooking research in Kenya.
MECS Kenya and KPLC working to promote eCooking in Kenya
While the partnership of ACTS, MECS and KPLC has been building over the recent past, the meeting held on 1st February 2022 marked the turning point to a great commitment towards accelerating the eCooking agenda in Kenya. The partners agreed to fast track the MoU and the non-disclosure agreements being reviewed by the respective organization board of directors. In addition, joint activities to be designed and carried out together include active participation in the establishment and running of the Community of Practice on eCooking, establishment of regional eCooking hubs, and operationalization of the mobile eCooking demonstrations, and supporting the National government in the development of the eCooking strategy among other strategic collaborative engagements.
It is a great step to see the clean cooking sector and the electrification sector coming together facilitated by the MECS program to accelerate the eCooking agenda in Kenya. It is a huge milestone and through the Community of Practice, eCooking dialogues and the MoUs, the eCooking agenda in Kenya is set on the right track. The partners’ readiness to support the Ministry of Energy to develop the eCooking strategy is a great step that will ensure inclusion and practical action steps documented in the strategy. Indeed, the benefits that accrue from the reduction of the population relying on biomass for cooking are numerous ranging from human health to environmental conservation and climate change mitigation. Kenya is indeed set to advance its eCooking agenda through these partnerships.
Featured image, top: MECS Kenya & Clean Cooking Association of Kenya virtual meeting on 31st January, 2022 (image credit: ACTS).