Promoting Sustainable Solar Powered Irrigation


Water scarcity, food insecurity, and climate change pose many challenges to smallholder farmers. Over 240 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are considered food insecure whilst approximately 80% of the population relies on rain-fed agriculture. In a world where erratic rainfall patterns, droughts, and extreme weather conditions are on the rise, smallholder livelihoods are increasingly at risk. Therefore, smallholders must have affordable access to reliable water supplies to counter these challenges. With the anticipated decrease in water resources by 2050, there is a critical need to enhance irrigation resilience and improve access to reliable water sources for agricultural production.

Solar-powered irrigation systems (SPIS), with the ability to harness renewable energy, hold great potential in addressing these challenges. The installation can increase agricultural productivity, farmer’s income as well as enhance farmers’ access to water and power in rural areas, making smallholders more climate resilient.

About the program

Sun4Water is a global program financed by the German Climate and Technology Initiative (DKTI) through the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and contributes to the joint international initiative Water and Energy for Food (WE4F). Sun4Water provides tailor-made capacity development methods which empower farmers, technical service/technology providers, financial service providers, and sensitize policy actors to the benefits of SPIS.

The program implements capacity development activities at the micro, meso and macro levels across 6 WE4F countries in East and West Africa such as Mali, Niger, Togo, Malawi, Kenya and Ethiopia. The implementation process, consisting of pilot projects, trainings of trainers and policy advisory programs, is carried out in cooperation with GIZ partner projects.


Through its focus on disseminating approaches for the adapted and sustainable use of climate-friendly and water- and energy-efficient SPIS, Sun4Water:

  • Contributes to increasing productivity and food security, strengthening resilience of smallholder farmers in the agri-food value chain for a growing population,
  • Supports the climate, environment and economic ambitions of partner countries through capacity building, innovation dissemination and cross sectoral dialogues,
  • Promotes the sustainable use of relevant SPIS technologies/innovations/practices and mainstreams their consideration in political frameworks and processes for further dissemination.

Focus Activities

Sun4Water is built upon the following 4 main pillars, focusing on:

Technical and Financial Services

Sun4Water develops and establishes context-oriented technical and financial services to improve access to SPIS.

Capacity Development

Sun4Water provides capacity development for the dissemination and use of climate friendly and sustainable solar irrigation systems (SPIS).

Enabling Environment

Sun4Water integrates standards and lessons learned in the policy framework to foster appropriate SPIS interventions.

Promoting the SPIS Toolbox

Sun4Water aims at participatively further developing and adaptating the existing SPIS toolbox as well as creating a SPIS Knowledge Network.

Visit the SPIS Toolbox: Toolbox on SPIS – energypedia

Fact Sheet

The Sun4Water Team

The Sun4Water Team works together across three units. The Steering Unit is located in Bonn, Germany, whereas two Regional coordinators are each located in the WE4F Hubs in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and in Nairobi, Kenya. Together, the units aim at promoting the development and dissemination of climate-friendly, energy- and water-efficient solar-powered irrigation systems (SPIS). Through a holistic, multi-scale approach with other GIZ projects, they address educational institutions, experts from water-energy-agriculture backgrounds, smallholder-farmers, technical service providers, financial institutions, and enabling environment actors.

Günther Rapp

Team Lead

Günther is the Team Lead of Sun4Water. He has more than 30 years of experience on Food Security, Water and Sanitation, Agriculture, Management of Protected Areas, Solid Waste Management, Biosecurity, Peace Building. Before joining the Sun4Water Secretariat Unit in Bonn, Germany, he worked on various projects in Niger, Benin, Vietnam, Philippines, the South Pacific and Tanzania.

Dr. Macben Makenzi

East Africa Regional Coordinator

Macben is a senior energy specialist with over 15 years’ experience in renewable energy projects, energy efficiency, industrial automation and nexus topics (water-energy-food). He holds a PhD in Renewable Energy, an MSc in Energy Technology and an MSc in Mechatronic Engineering. He supported WE4F as technical advisor since 2020 and joined Sun4Water as East Africa Regional Coordinator in 2023. He has obtained several certifications in the fields of energy and engineering from; among others; the Florence School of Regulation (FSR), Fraunhofer ICT and the Renewables Academy AG (RENAC) and is a CEM, CMVP and a registered professional engineer with the Engineers Board of Kenya. Recently, his work has focused on the management, promotion, design, evaluation and development of clean energy and water efficiency projects and programs.

Stephane Lako

West Africa Regional Coordinator

Stephane is a senior Agronomist specialized in water engineering, research and management. With 14 years of experience in agriculture and the water sector (rural & urban) his expertise covers: policy processes and analysis, training, design and construction, planning and communications. He is the West Africa Regional Coordinator of the Sun4water program. Prior, he worked as field engineer and trainer for various NGOs, as the Head of Irrigation and Drainage division in the Ministry of Agriculture (Cameroon), as a consultant on irrigation projects for FAO, IITA and GIZ and Site Coordinator for UNOPS.

Guillaume Imbert

Technical Advisor

Guillaume is a Technical Advisor for the Sun4Water program at the GIZ (Bonn Secretariat). As a French engineer, he has 20 years of professional experience in the field of water and agriculture in Europe (France, Germany) and abroad, particularly in Africa (Mali, Mozambique, Malawi). After several years in a consultancy firm specializing in water management and project implementation, he then focused on coordinating capacity-building programs for key players as training institutions, supporting the design and implementation of tailor-made training courses and South-South exchanges, leading to the co-creation of knowledge.

Sten Schurer

Technical Advisor

Sten is a Technical Advisor for the Sun4Water program and the WE4F GIZ Secretariat Unit. He focuses on water and energy related topics and the SPIS Toolbox. He has an M.Sc. in Water Management from the TU Delft in the Netherlands, where he focused on hydrology, Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) and river discharge modeling.

Michel Peudré Digbeu

Technical Advisor

Michel holds a Water and Environmental Engineering degree with a specialization in Water and Sanitation from the International Institute of Water and Environmental Engineering of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and several certificates in the fields of renewable energy and irrigation by GIZ, the International Institute of Francophonie and others. Michel worked as a consultant for the Africa Energy Building Industry Groupe in Ivory Coast and  later on as an environmental manager for an energy recovery project from agro-industrial waste at the Nitidae Association. Since April 2020, Michel has worked at GIZ as a Technical Advisor for the WE4F project and took on the role of Technical Advisor for the Sun4Water project in January 2023, working on capacity development and training.

Gerhard Schüßler

Finance Manager

Gerhard finished his Master´s degree in Bakery in 1986. In addition to this, he obtained a Master of Arts in Economics from the University at Albany, US. He worked in economics for more than 28 years held different positions in the financial area of the private sector in Germany, Brazil, Portugal and Austria. After a voluntary position in Hawassa, Ethiopia where he developed a payroll system for a mother and child hospital, he held a temporary position in the financial department of Misereor.
Gerhard started at GIZ in July 2023 as Finance Manager for Sun4Water in Bonn and Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture in Eschborn.

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