East Africa Alliance Stakeholder and Consultation Workshop
Over 120 people attended the two and a half day workshop organized by the Alliance in Nairobi, Kenya at the end of April. The workshop was supported by the Canadian Government and cohosted by DFID-Teri Clean Energy Access Initiative, the German Agency for International Development (GIZ), and the Greenbelt Movement.
This was the first time that the Alliance convened such a broad spectrum of experts and interested parties at the regional level. The response was positive and extremely informative as participants provided feedback to the Alliance business plan, identified regional themes, and drafted country action plans.
Two high-level Government of Kenya officials opened the workshop: the Honorable Anne C. Olubendi from the Office of the Prime Minister and the Honorable Patrick M. Nyoike, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy. Their remarks brought a sense of urgency to the problems that the Alliance deals with on a daily basis. Many people in East Africa suffer the consequences of cooking with biomass on open fires or traditional stoves. Accessibility and affordability of clean cookstoves and fuels are a major concern in a region that has seen fuels prices escalate at an exorbitant pace.
On the first day of the workshop, the Alliance shared its history and business plan, eliciting input and suggestions from all participants. Later on in the day, participants presented country-specific information and talked about market maturity for clean cooking solutions. The second day was dedicated to the development of country strategies and the identification of regional themes, while the final half day was a wrap up on what the Alliance and its partners will deliver, how and when.
Roles and responsibilities focused on who would take the lead on a variety of issues including forging new distribution channels; addressing consumer needs; establishing consumer-finance mechanisms; building capacity; promoting global standards; ensuring access to clean, efficient, and appropriate cooking technologies and fuels at scale. The workshop also touched upon the need for building the evidence base, championing the sector, establishing an innovation fund, as well as monitoring and evaluation protocols.
Prior to the actual workshop, the Alliance, U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), and the World Health Organization convened a one day meeting to discuss the public health benefits of clean cookstoves. Participants discussed opportunities to integrate clean cookstoves into ongoing public health research and awareness raising efforts. The importance of bundling public health interventions was emphasized, as was the need to learn from experience in the water and sanitation sector.
As part of its commitment to mainstream gender issues throughout the clean cookstoves and fuels sector, the Alliance also held a pre-workshop strategy session with a group of gender experts. The goal of this meeting was to develop specific strategies for integrating gender throughout the planning process. The fact that participants could discuss key gender and empowerment issues in the East African cookstove and fuel sector prior to the workshop, enabled the Alliance to effectively mainstream gender in the planning process of each of the country sessions and at the regional level.