Cracking the clean energy glass ceiling in Kenya - long burning charcoal briquettes
Not many women are clean energy entrepreneurs in Kenya.But the poisoned chicken turned Lydia withera into one.Ms.Poultry farmer wysela began to look for ways to keep her birds alive on a cold night.Her first choice-the charcoal fire caused too many birds to die from carbon monoxide poisoning in a closed chicken house.Therefore, at the advice of other farmers, she turned to coal balls made from compressed waste produced by sugar and syrup.The long-Working burning coal ballEven rescued her from the middle.of-the-Trek through the chicken house to store charcoal fires at night.In two years, as the chicken business grows, she needs 200 bags of coal balls per month.Just then, in order to save money, she began to think about making her own money.Four years later, she received business training and loans to produce a ton of coal balls a day and hired four employees.Her initial $1,200 investment has become a $18,000 business, she said."I found this to be a profitable project and I have never looked back," she said .".The lack of capital and clean energy skills among Kenyan women so far has led men to dominate renewable energy work and businesses in the country.Slowly, however, women began to push open doors that had blocked them.New skills help her coal ball company transform from a spark of ideas to a successful business.Waithera joined a mentoring project run by the Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP), which focuses on increasing access to energy in developing countries.The project helped her acquire the startup skills she needed to run the company."My record is very poor --"Keep it," she said.Waithera."But through in-Deep training, I have mastered the skills I need.In 2014, GVEP also helped her get a $3,500 loan from a local financial institution to expand her business.Now "My goal is to produce 3."5 tons of coal balls per day, 6 employees," she said .".However, despite her good record and training,As Kenya sees renewable energy as not a women's field, withera has encountered resistance in starting a business."When I wanted to buy a machine, the manufacturer thought I was sent by a man who would ask to talk to the 'master' before explaining how to use the machine," she said ."."But things are changing.Even so, financial institutions are still reluctant to support women entrepreneurs and acknowledge that green energy companies are viable investments, she said.There are other problems, including lack of skilled labor and poor quality of locally manufactured machines."Good machines have to be imported and the cost is high," she said .".All these problems can be solved.Waithera said that if universities and technology research institutions work with renewable energy entrepreneurs, training in green technology, especially for women, is encouraged.It will promote the sustainable energy industry while improving product quality, she said.Sami kitura, GVEP capital access coordinator, agreed."It is regrettable that only a few universities in Kenya are concerned about renewable energy.Through proper technology and training, more female entrepreneurs can be added ."Women have played some key roles in Kenya's renewable energy sector.While designers and technicians are primarily male, women are primarily responsible for selling products and manufacturing some important components, such as the lining of a new generation of green wood stoves.Mr.Kitula said a fewGovernment organizations are working to guide women into green businesses through mentoring, networking and helping to secure funding.He said his organization linked women's green energy entrepreneurs to financial institutions by providing loan guarantees and requiring them to lower interest rates.He said the Department of Energy has launched an initiative to train women at its energy center.According to Mr.Kitula, these efforts are now leading to an increasing number of women signing up for training and seeking to startCapital of renewable energyEnergy companies.Ms.Waithera urged Kenyan women to seize the opportunity of clean energy and said they would make a lot of money."This is a demand that will never be met," she said ."