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Kenya's National Cooking Transition Strategy: Insights from the KNCTS Validation Workshop

13th June 2024
Clean Cooking

By Syprose Ochieng (Gamos East Africa), Dr Jon Leary (Gamos East Africa), Dr Faith Odongo (Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, Kenya), Daniel Wanjohi (EED Advisory), Tom Shikorire (EED Advisory), Beryl Onjala (Gamos East Africa), Ruth Gichuhi (EED Advisory) & Murefu Barasa (EED Advisory)

On the 28th of March 2024, the  Ministry of Energy and Petroleum (MoEP), EED Advisory and Modern Energy Cooking Services  (MECS) cohosted the Validation Workshop for the Kenya National Cooking Transition Strategy (KNCTS) at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi. This workshop marked a pivotal moment in Kenya’s journey towards universal access to sustainable energy solutions by 2028.

In this blog, we aim to highlight the key takeaways from the KNCTS validation workshop. The Strategy, commissioned by the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum (MoEP) in September 2022, outlines a comprehensive vision for Kenya’s transition to Clean cooking solutions. It emphasizes a multi-fuel approach, with LPG continuing as a transitional fuel, whilst in parallel, supporting the development of sustainable marketplaces for biogas, bioethanol, and electric cooking to enable long-term sustainable transition pathways.

The workshop started with opening remarks from Dr Faith Odongo, Director of Renewable Energy, who noted the progress made by the sector and voiced the governments’ eagerness to accelerate the adoption of clean cooking solutions. She hailed the great work and support the Ministry has received from different partners towards transitioning Kenyans from using biomass to clean cooking solutions. Dr Jon Leary also echoed similar viewpoint, stating that Kenya will serve as a model for other African countries, as the first nation on the continent to complete a multi-fuel clean cooking strategy.

Fredrick Amariati from GIZ underscored the significance of having a tangible roadmap for transitioning Kenyans to clean cooking solutions, marking a shift from conversation to action. Finally, Daniel Wanjohi, chairman of the Clean Cooking Association of Kenya (CCAK) and Strategy and Engagement Director at EED Advisory, noted the tension between traditional cooking practices and transitioning to modern cooking drawing reference from the famous book by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o’s “The River Between” to illustrate that modernizing cooking doesn’t necessitate losing cultural heritage. Communities can still cook their traditional dishes and enjoy family time together in a modern way without impacting on their health, environment and social setting.

Image 1: Stakeholders discussing at the KNCTS Validation Workshop. Photo Credit: Lynn Ngatia (CCAK)

The workshop attracted over sixty-five stakeholders from across the energy sector, providing a platform for valuable feedback on the draft strategy. The input from committee members and stakeholders around incorporating institutional cooking and ensuring that the focus is not only on consumer financing mechanism side but also to look at how suppliers’ side of financing was instrumental in shaping the strategy to its current state among other issues. The collaborative effort underscored the commitment of various stakeholders towards achieving universal access to sustainable clean cooking solutions. Overall, the stakeholders expressed their excitement to have strategy with clear roadmap on how Kenya was going to ensure universal access to clean cooking by 2028. They noted that the document was in good form and required only minor adjustments.

The workshop included a presentation by consultants on the draft strategy, followed by discussions and deliberations from participants. Stakeholders had the opportunity to ask questions, propose improvements, and validate the current structure of the strategy. The event marked the final stage in a lengthy collaborative process that enabled the strategy to be shaped by the aspirations of the key sectoral stakeholders.

Key highlights from the Strategy include:

  • The adoption of a multi-fuel approach, creating an enabling environment in which all clean cooking solutions can thrive.
  • The aim of achieving universal adoption of clean cooking solutions by 2028, acknowledging the significant population’s dependence on traditional fuels and encouraging households to integrate clean cooking solutions into their fuel stack.
  • The aspiration for a comprehensive transformation in the cooking sector, focusing on sustainability and profitability, generating foreign exchange, reducing fossil fuel reliance, creating jobs, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and generating electricity utility revenue.
  • The KNCTS identifies 3 binding constraints impeding the adoption of clean cooking in Kenya: i) the supply gap, ii) the affordability (fuel and stove) gap; and iii) the availability of low-cost or no-cost alternatives.
  •  Measures to address market barriers, policy gaps, financial constraints, supply issues, and awareness gaps through a five-point action agenda; (i) Bridging the supply gap for clean cooking solutions, (ii) Bridging the affordability gap for demand side, (iii) Promoting local manufacturing and fuel production for local use and export, (iv) Reframing and raise awareness of the role of clean cooking and finally (v) Instituting accountability, planning, and continuous tracking progress. Working towards self-sustainability post-2028, focusing on fuel supply and adoption, laying the groundwork for a potential cross-subsidy program, given the country’s significant public debt and potential subsidies.

As Kenya embarks on the next stage of its clean cooking transition, the roadmap provided by the strategy will serve as a guiding light towards a more sustainable future.

Image 2: Photo of Stakeholders at the KNCTS Validation Workshop. Photo Credit: Lynn Ngatia (CCAK)

Next steps

The validation workshop marked a crucial milestone in Kenya’s clean cooking journey. With the Kenya National Cooking Transition Strategy and the executive summary now approved by the sector stakeholders and the Ministry itself, we eagerly await the launch event, where the government can officially unveil the document to the rest of the world and begin the implementation phase.

Featured Image: Stakeholders discussing at the KNCTS Validation Workshop. Photo Credit: Lynn Ngatia (CCAK).