A Pathway to Energy Efficiency in the Kenyan Agri-Food Sector

Sustainable energy and water management in the agri-food sector requires new skills, innovative business models and strong partnerships. The WE4F East Africa Regional Innovation Hub (RIH) and Eenovators, a Kenyan energy service company (ESCO) have partnered to expand the company’s model and harness their expertise by developing the capacity of young Kenyan engineers in water and energy audits and management.

Happy YEEP students ready for learning sessions/Photo credit: Eenovators

Eenovators leverages its expertise across several East African countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania). Their  cutting-edge solutions ensure the efficient use of energy and water. The company provides customized and comprehensive energy consulting services, such as energy and water audits; implementation of energy management projects; monitoring and verification to support energy and water management projects; and finally, development of technical capacities and skills through training.

In order to mainstream energy efficiency across the African continent, Eenovators and WE4F adopted an approach that combines the training and placement of young engineers in key Kenyan agro-industries, mainly crop production and horticulture. The skills and knowledge trainees will gain will help to facilitate the expansion of the  ESCO model to improve energy efficiency in Kenya. This approach incorporates energy efficiency into a broader development perspective, creates employment opportunities for Kenyan youth, and strengthens long-term resilience and sustainability of agro-industries.

As a first step, WE4F East Africa RIH and Eenovators launched the joint Youth in Energy Empowerment Programme (YEEP), which provides a training program for Energy Audit Technicians by the Institute of Energy Professionals Africa (IEPA), that focuses on water and energy audits and management. IEPA represents the international certification body, Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), in Sub-Saharan Africa and provides high-quality, accredited skills and training programs to the sub-Saharan African market. The program targets graduates between the ages of 21-30 years, with a background in engineering. Due to the skills and experience gained from the training, they  will be well-positioned for employment and entrepreneurship in the energy sector.

Virtual Launch for partners and students/Photo credit: Eenovators

Twelve youth from the first YEEP cohort have already started their ten-month training. The first four months will focus on an Energy Audit Technician (EAT) syllabus. Upon completion,, the trainees will do a six-month internship in one of ten agri-food companies identified by Eenovators. Additionally, throughout the training and internship, water and energy management experts will mentor the students. In total, approximately 200 people are expected to gain knowledge and skills on promoting energy and water efficiency in food processing.

The program marks the beginning of a socially, environmentally, and economically crucial intervention that will see young people in East Africa impact their communities by taking charge of energy transformation and embedding transferable skills.. The first YEEP cohort serves as a catalyst for additional  youth empowerment programs across the region.

The Youth in Energy Empowerment Launch, cohort 1/photo credit: Eenovators