Fueling Progress: The Second “Women in Clean Cooking” Mentorship Program Comes to a Close
“Clean cooking should be recognized as a serious business where women can contribute a lot to change not only their lives but also the economies of their nations.” – Dorothy Otieno: CEO at Nyalore Impact Limited, Kenya.
Increasing access to clean cooking is a critical and immediate solution to achieving gender equality, addressing climate change, and improving women’s health and safety. Additionally, the clean cooking sector is a rapidly growing industry that can provide a wide variety of employment opportunities for women.
To address this pressing issue, the Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA), in collaboration with Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and hosted by the Global Women’s Network for Energy Transition (GWNET), graduated its second cohort of the Women in Clean Cooking (WICC) program. The 12-month virtual mentorship program provided training and support to 60 women across Africa, Asia, and Haiti, doubling the number of participants from the inaugural cohort in 2021.
“This has been one of the most insightful and helpful programs, with a strong sense of community. It has been a wonderful experience collaborating with women that are experiencing the same issues and challenges. We’re all after the same goal – helping women in the clean cooking space and renewable energy, and that goal knows no boundary. Women face so many sociocultural challenges, but these women don’t give up. Sometimes we think our challenges are overwhelming until we hear the inspiring stories of others overcoming so much more.” – Louise Williamson, Self-employed- Innovator and Manager at Sustainability Professionals (PTY) LTD, South Africa.
WICC supported participants with valuable career-advancing activities, including goal development and strategic thinking within the clean cooking sector. The program specifically focused on mentorship and professional development for women in early and mid-management positions, entrepreneurs, and others working in the clean cooking ecosystem.
“WICC has really been a very rich and beneficial journey for me personally and professionally. I’ll be forever indebted. My mentor gave me the hands-on support when I needed it the most. She went out of her comfort zone to be there for me. I don’t know what I would have done without this program, it is invaluable.” – Carine Buma Lehtem, Professional Officer, Energy and Low Emission Development at ICLEI Africa – Local Governments for Sustainability, Cameroon.
This was achieved through bilateral interaction between the mentees and mentors, complemented by several knowledge transfers and networking opportunities through a series of webinars covering relevant topics such as finance, data, and personal branding, among others. This year’s cohort included a record number of mentees from Kenya and Nigeria, reflecting the growth of the clean cooking sector in these countries.
“I have had a wonderful journey with my mentor. The program has prepared me to be a better leader and an agent of change in the clean cooking sector. I’m grateful to the organizers and my mentor.” – Magdaline Njeri Muigai, Project Officer (Professionalization of Improved Cookstoves) at Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Kenya.