Time to Address Energy Poverty


September 9th, 2011

There is an emerging stream of discourse on access to energy today.  One discourse is the failure to recognise and act on the fact that energy and development are intricately linked. It is also true that in as much as development and progress are collective responsibilities, they are also personal ones.

These discussions emerging around the possibilities and potentials of equitable access to energy sources now, more than ever, give cause to pause and examine the assumptions that surround this, among them, that society is a homogeneous collective constituency waiting to be mobilised to take action to address the challenge with support from government with development agencies and communities as conduits and agencies to effect it. This notion is something I wish will be kept in mind in discussions about the impact of energy poverty especially among the poor in remote areas as well as those in urban informal settlements on national development policies and strategies.

Our visit to poor rural households in Kisumu, western Kenya; Kerugoya, Central Kenya and Nairobi this week, organised by Practical Action Eastern Africa, put the discussion into focus. The delegation comprising of three Members of the European Parliament (MEP), local partners and colleagues from Practical Action UK observed the magnitude of the problem. Apart from joining women on their tough mission to collect firewood, the MEPs also had a chance to interact with energy entrepreneurs, especially women groups producing improved cook stoves in Kisumu. The reality on the ground and selected interventions being implemented in the area spoke volumes of what needs to be done by different stakeholders to address the issue at hand. Summarily, the visit underlined that fact that increased access to energy is essential for growth and human well-being.

I hope the visit has provided the MEPs an opportunity to reflect on some of the assumptions, presumptions and misconceptions they had on the subject and its extent that is the challenge of the new era. The challenge should be presented as parts of, not separate from, the collective aim for all-inclusive long-term development.

Make the Call – Energy for All now

3 responses to “Time to Address Energy Poverty”

  1. GEOFFREY G KAMAU Says:

    Hey George;
    Hope you doing great, just read your articles and well, keep it up good work. Pass my regards to the team.
    Cheers.

  2. Vivian Says:

    Hi George,

    My company RVESOL is installing our latest product the Rural Village Energy Hub (RVE) in Sidonge, West Kenya in later October, 2011. The RVE is designed to specifically meet the needs of poorer communities, suffering from energy and infrastructure poverty. The self contained units supply electricity (Solar), clean water and bio-gas to the local community. The units will reduce the amount of time people spend collecting firewood, water, and decrease the use of kerosene for cooking.

    If you would like to know more please contact me directly @ vivian [at] rvesol.com

  3. George Says:

    Hi Vivian,

    Thanks for the heads up. I will get in touch with you later today for more information on your work in Kenya.

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