Equity Bank plans to wean schools across Kenya from their reliance on wood fuel for cooking through a Sh5 billion financing program to adopt renewable energy.
The school clean cooking initiative which will be rolled out by the bank in partnership with Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) firm, ProGas, is billed to help learning institutions cut their fuel costs by nearly 40 per cent.
By September, this year, all schools in Kenya could switch to LPG as their primary source of cooking energy once the plan gets the requisite support from the Ministry of Education, said Equity Bank CEO, Dr James Mwangi when he launched the pilot project at Alliance High School on March 8th.
“The system is effective, clean, conducive, healthy, cost-effective and our trees will be safe. We will have bigger savings from this project to fund other projects,” said the school’s Chief Principal William Mwangi.
Located in Thogoto, Kikuyu town, Alliance High School has a population of about 2,000 students and spends approximately Sh700,000 per month on electricity bills alone. The school is exploring ways of turning to solar for its lighting energy needs.
Noting that 97 per cent of schools in Kenya use wood fuel for cooking, Dr Mwangi lauded roll out of the initiative saying it marks start of a journey towards clean energy while conserving the environment across the country.
“We will support the government to ensure we have 10 per cent forest cover and help change carbon emission trends to save our environment. We sought partnership with the Ministry of Education, Environment, and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to ensure the programme could be executed in a more integrated system,” said Dr Mwangi.
The clean cooking initiative project will see Equity Bank provide financing for learning institutions to buy the necessary equipment as well as meet the attendant installation costs.
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According to data from the ministry of Education, there about 10,000 secondary schools in Kenya. These learnings institutions, especially those offering boarding facilities, spend a significant percentage of their annual budget on wood fuel for cooking.
“This is a project that is transformative and in line with the government agenda. When you look at the negative effects of climate change, you will understand its importance,” noted Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof. George Magoha.