By Syprose Ochieng, Dr Jon Leary, and Beryl Onjala (Gamos East Africa)
Clean Cooking Association of Kenya (CCAK) recently partnered with the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum (MoEP) and other stakeholders to host the 4th Clean Cooking Week (CCW) in Nakuru from October 24th to 26th, 2023. This event, themed “Towards Universal Access to Clean Cooking Solutions: Invest, Innovate, Involve & Transform,” brought together key stakeholders in the energy sector working in one way or another to accelerate the achievement of universal access to clean cooking by 2028.
Among the various aspects of Clean Cooking Week is the exhibition of technologies, innovations, and studies within the clean cooking sector. In this blog post, we will explore how electric cooking (eCooking) became the focal point at the exhibition booths during Clean Cooking Week, highlighting its transformative potential and the collective efforts to bring the electricity access and clean cooking sectors closer together.
This year’s Clean Cooking Week marked a significant turning point in the clean cooking landscape. As delegates strolled through the exhibition booths, it was apparent to them that electricity is now fully integrated into the range of clean cooking solutions in Kenya. Beginning at the entrance and extending to the far end of the exhibition center, both research and policy advocates, as well as entrepreneurs, featured electric cooking appliances at their respective stands. This wasn’t always the case – 5 years ago, not a single booth would have featured an electric solution. Back in those days, ICS dominated, with the occasional bioethanol, biogas, or LPG solution on show.
The CCW’s exhibition booths were buzzing with activity, and the presence of eCooking was hard to miss. Here are some key observations:
- Awareness and Education through informational materials, brochures, and knowledgeable representatives were on hand to educate visitors about the benefits of eCooking. The emphasis on spreading awareness and encouraging adoption was evident at the MECS‘ stand.
- Live Demonstrations by exhibitors particularly Kenya Power, EnDev, and the Nakuru eCooking hub (hosted by SCODE) conducted live demonstrations of eCooking technologies for the three days of the event. These interactive sessions allowed attendees to experience firsthand how eCooking can revolutionize their cooking processes, making them cleaner, safer, and more efficient. The participants were able to participate in the eCooking competitions, buy raffles and win appliances, airtime, and cash.
- Delegates and visitors were treated to a diverse range of eCooking technologies, from energy-efficient electric pressure cookers, and air fryers, to electric induction cookstoves. The variety of options available demonstrated the flexibility of eCooking solutions, making them suitable for a wide range of cooking needs.
Top left row: In the top left photo, the SCODE team showcasing the MECS Cooking Power Stations designed by Loughborough University and piloted in Kenya by SCODE. Cooking Power Stations utilize battery storage to enable households with unreliable grid connections, or those with no connection at all, to cook with electricity. BURN Manufacturing showcased their PayGo induction stove, which is assembled in their modern cooking device factory in Ruiru. In the top right photo, Nakuru eCooking hub community champions demonstrate how to prepare meals using eCooking appliances. The Nakuru eCooking hub is among five hubs launched by the MECS programme in partnership with CCAK, KPLC, and ACTS in five different counties to build capacity and create awareness within the communities to accelerate the adoption of electric Cooking.
Middle left row: Vivian of the Ministry of Energy & Petroleum (middle left photo) showcases a series of videos produced by CCAK on the county eCooking hubs. The MoEP’s forthcoming National eCooking Strategy is expected to create an enabling environment for a rapid acceleration in the electrification of cooking in Kenya. Through their partnership with Nyalore Impact, Equity Bank is now offering EPCs on credit to both their staff and their customers (bottom left photo). Dorothy Otieno, the Founder of Nyalore Impact, passionately explains to a CCW participant the advantages of using an efficient eCooking appliance and the additional value offered by digitalized EPCs. Prudence Lihabi of Mama Doing Good, an initiative of the First Lady, showcased a range of clean cooking solutions including an EPC (bottom right photo). The initiative focuses on three strategic pillars – Women Economic Empowerment, Environment & Climate Action, and Faith Diplomacy.
Top row: From left, Syprose Ochieng (MECS) showcasing the array of eCookBooks developed by the programme, innovative eCooking products/services developed by our private sector partners and the national strategies under development with the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum. In the middle photo, Wairimu Njehia (KPLC) and Dancun (Sayona) posing with the eCooking appliance at the Kenya Power stand. KPLC launched its Pika na Power (Cook with Electricity) campaign in 2017 and recently announced their intention to scale up electric cooking as a primary cooking solution for 500,000 of its customers. This year, Kenya Power was one of the official sponsors of the Clean Cooking Week, marking another important milestone in the convergence of the clean cooking and electricity access sectors. Marion Ambani of SNV (top right photo) recently concluded a pilot project to sell EPCs to households on credit, and to test large capacity EPCs in institutions in Kalobeyei integrated settlement in Kakuma, Turkana County.
Bottom row: Geoffrey (Powerpay Africa) showing Wairimu (KPLC) and John (SCODE) his ugali making skills on the EPC. Powerpay Africa offers energy and IoT technology services to partners working in the eCooking sector by digitalizing appliances to enable distributors to monitor and track the devices sold on PAYGO and for users to measure energy consumption and carbon emission reduction in real-time. The middle photo, shows Nakuru eCooking hub community champions demonstrating how to prepare a variety of dishes using EPCs. In the far-right photo, Pat Ojunga, an eCooking champion is demonstrating to delegates how to cook with an EPC at the Endev-GIZ stand. As an anchor partner in the newly formed Global eCooking Coalition (GeCCo), EnDev has historically promoted clean cooking and electricity access as separate parts of their programming, but is now integrating the two, for example, they have re-trained many of the last mile entrepreneurs (who they had worked with as Improved Cookstove producers), as electric cooking appliance distributors.
The prominence of eCooking at Clean Cooking Week was not a coincidence. This was the result of many years of dedicated collaboration and advocacy from MECS and its ever-increasing network of partners who are increasingly seeing electricity as the future of cooking in Kenya.
In conclusion, Clean Cooking Week 2023 was an indication of the power of advocacy, capacity building, and partnership in changing the face of a sector. 5 years ago, eCooking was nowhere to be seen at clean cooking sector convenings and now it is fully integrated into the work of so many different organizations.
Featured Image: SCODE team showcasing the MECS cooking Power Stations designed by Loughborough University and piloted in Kenya by SCODE. Photo by Syprose Ochieng,(MECS), 2023.