African low carbon pioneers address urgent global challenges

African organisations have revealed their climate solutions which tackle three more of today’s biggest issues – the energy crisis, food insecurity, and the challenges faced by refugees around the world.

The finalists in the 2022 Ashden Awards were announced on Friday 1 July at the end of the international London Climate Action Week (#LCAW2022) conference. Four of the six organisations delivering these solutions were from Africa.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of #LCAW22, which this year had a particular focus on low carbon solutions from Africa, Harriet Lamb, CEO of climate solutions charity Ashden, said: “With the crucial COP27 climate talks taking place in Africa in November, it’s great to see the continent’s dynamic innovators proving how climate solutions can lower emissions and also create work and reach the most disadvantaged too.

“These innovators are seizing the youth population’s enormous potential. For instance, in Togo and Zimbabwe, Energy Generation and Zonful are helping young people get the skills and opportunities to find a future in the clean power sector. Both organisations target support to women, building a more diverse and inclusive industry.

“The bright sparks at Kakuma Ventures – creating solar-powered internet connectivity in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya also have an inspiring model for others in Africa to follow.”

Also in Kenya, Sokofresh are worthy finalists for helping smallholders access affordable, sustainable cooling for their produce. At a time of global food crisis, this initiative is even more important.

“We call on governments and investors to get behind these solutions, and for the wider climate community to put them centre-stage at COP27.”

The Ashden Award finalists cover a range of countries and industries bringing jobs and clean energy to low-income and marginalised communities. Finalists from other countries include Imece Initiative training refugees as solar engineers in Turkey and Collectives for Integrated Livelihoods Initiatives (CINI) which creates community-led production hubs in India’s tribal areas. An extra award for Natural Climate Solutions is calling for entries specifically from the Congo Basin and the Amazon and there is also a UK-specific set of Awards.

“Our rigorous awards research confirms that more support for green jobs, skills and livelihoods is urgently needed. That’s why the work of our skills-focused finalists, creating opportunities including for more marginalised communities, is so inspirational,” said Ms Lamb.

Ashden has been spotlighting and supporting climate and energy innovators in low-income countries and the UK since 2001.

The winners of the Ashden Awards will be announced in Nairobi in October 2022 in the run-up to COP27 in Egypt in November. The finalists will be judged by international specialists on each award category and will receive financial and strategic support.

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