CCA Youth Delegation Champions Clean Cooking at the Youth Energy Summit
In its ongoing efforts to engage young people in the clean cooking sector, the Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA) ensured that clean cooking was a central topic at the Youth Energy Summit (YES!) from June 20-23, held simultaneously with the Africa Energy Forum in Nairobi, Kenya. From sponsoring a youth delegation to running an interactive clean cooking booth, hosting a youth-led panel discussion, and launching a Youth Engagement Strategy and incubator program, CCA showcased the indispensable role of young people in shaping a sustainable future through clean cooking.
The Clean Cooking Youth Delegation at YES! in Nairobi, Kenya
YES! is a global gathering that aims to unite young leaders from around the world to address pressing issues related to energy, sustainability, and climate change. Welcoming nearly 1,000 entrepreneurs, early career professionals, educators, and students, YES! offered a unique platform for elevating the importance of clean cooking among current and future energy leaders around the world, and particularly across Africa.
With the largest young generation in the world, Africa has immense potential for using the power of youth to build a clean, healthy, and sustainable future with widespread access to clean and affordable cooking solutions. Yet, more than 850 million people in Africa still depend on wood and charcoal for cooking, and almost 500,000 Africans die prematurely every year from household air pollution resulting from cooking and other sources.
To help address this challenge and amplify youth voices in clean cooking, CCA sent a clean cooking delegation to YES! comprised of 16 dynamic and passionate young leaders. These young changemakers brought not only their innovative ideas to the Summit, but also their vision for a cleaner and healthier future.
CCA’s exhibition booth at YES!
As part of its interactive booth, CCA showcased various clean cooking solutions and ways in which youth can engage and contribute to clean cooking. The booth attracted an overwhelming number of visitors, who had the opportunity to learn about innovative clean cooking technologies, find out more CCA’s Youth Strategy, register for CCA’s youth newsletter, and participate in a prize raffle.
CCA’s panel discussion, “Unleashing the Power of Youth-led Change”
On the third day of the Summit, CCA held a panel discussion on “Unleashing the Power of Youth-led Change in Clean Cooking.” The panel showcased the importance not only of involving youth in decision-making processes, but also for empowering them to lead clean cooking transitions in their respective communities and countries. Moderated by Prudence Lihabi (Deputy Director, Clean and Renewable Energy Programmes, Office of The First Lady of Kenya), the session featured an impressive lineup of youth leaders, entrepreneurs, advocates, and experts: Norah Magero (Founder & CEO, Drop Access), Marina Fenka (SDG 7 Youth Constituency), Calvin Shikuku (Co-Founder & CEO Motobrix Limited), Elisha Caleb (Founder & CEO, AgroTech Plus), and Michelle Njoroge (Associate, Market Strengthening, CCA).
Attendees at the panel discussion, “Unleashing the Power of Youth-led Change in Clean Cooking”
The panel offered insights creating an environment that nurtures youth innovation, enhances access to finance, and establishes supportive and inclusive policies that prioritize clean cooking as a development imperative. As panelist Elisha Caleb noted, “It’s not just about giving youth a seat at the table; it’s about equipping them with the tools to enable them to lead the pack.”
Also at YES!, CCA officially launched its new Youth Engagement Strategy, setting forth a comprehensive framework to engage, empower, and amplify the voices of youth in driving innovation and transformative change in the clean cooking sector. Through strategic partnerships, capacity building initiatives, and targeted investments, CCA’s Youth Strategy aims to provide young people with the necessary tools, resources, and platforms to make a meaningful impact in the clean cooking sector.
Launching the CCA Youth Strategy at YES!
Additionally, CCA partnered with Student Energy, a global youth-led organization, to announce the “Ignite” Youth Clean Cooking Incubator Program to support young entrepreneurs in developing clean cooking solutions. CCA and Student Energy issued a call for donors and technical partners to accelerate the impact of this youth-led movement, including through the Ignite Sponsorship Brochure.
Representatives from CCA and Student Energy announcing the “Ignite” Incubator Program
“It was the connections I formed with my fellow youth delegates that truly made the experience unforgettable,” said Michelle Njoroge. “The diversity of perspectives and backgrounds represented made for stimulating conversations that armed me with newfound knowledge, inspiration, and a network of incredible young leaders and friends. With a reignited belief in the power of collective action, the Youth Energy Summit was nothing short of transformative.”
Esther Wanza had a similarly rewarding experience. “The event was nothing short of greatness,” she said. “I networked, learned from fellow youths, shared, and above all, I was involved in a panel of discussions where I shared my experience as a young professional in the energy space. I also got a chance to pitch my work under Mpito Energy as a finalist in the youth showdown. Special thanks to the Clean Cooking Alliance for making this happen and bringing youth voices to YES!.”
Beatrice Gesisa was particularly inspired by the vision of youth to drive the clean energy revolution. “The Youth Energy Summit has allowed me to network with young leaders with an exceptional vision to drive energy sustainability,” she said. “I am eternally grateful for this opportunity to contribute and be part of the clean energy revolution.”
Meanwhile, Marina Fenka remains hopeful about the role of youth in ensuring a future free from unclean cooking. “From my diverse discussions and the energy at YES!, there is no doubt that young people are taking ownership of clean cooking and ensuring that their various communities are free from traditional and unclean cooking,” she said.
Gathoni Kimani speaking at the “Visionaries Discuss Why Africa’s Youth Have Everything Ahead of Them”
CCA’s Gathoni Kimani (Senior Associate, Market Strengthening Operations and Compliance, CCA) spoke at the session, “Imperative of Energy – Visionaries Discuss Why Africa’s Youth Have Everything Ahead of Them,” sharing the floor with Charlene Ruto, William Kamkwamba, and others. Gathoni encouraged youth to stay true to their passion and purpose. “The challenges our parents faced and opportunities they had are vastly different from what the youth of today live through,” she said. “The major difference, however, is the opportunities that we have – one of them is that we get a chance to follow our passions. Showing up authentically as yourself and fired up for your purpose is the best way to make an impact in the energy space.”
Stay informed about CCA’s youth engagement initiatives at: https://cleancooking.org/youth-engagement/.