Nairobi, Kenya — Four years ago, Kenneth Ndua quit his job at a local charity and spent his savings designing a cooking stove. Through his job, he saw many people suffering from waterborne diseases and thought of a possible answer. “Fuel is very costly and they cannot even boil water,” explained Kenneth. “I thought, ‘Why not come up with an idea that can solve all this?’”
Kenneth’s stove uses recycled biomass as fuel and reduces fuel usage by half. I also has a water chamber that can boil and sanitise seven litres of water whilst the stove is being used for cooking.
Even though the stove is proving popular, growing his business Fawandu has proven difficult. “I’m just putting my money in and not going anywhere,” Kenneth tells Think Africa Press. A lack of financing and advice has made the distribution and marketing of the stove difficult and caused Kenneth to often consider giving up.
Innovation for development
Kenneth is one of the entrepreneurs connected to a new Climate Innovation Centre (CIC), which was established by the World Bank Group’s infoDev programme in Nairobi during the last week of September. The centre aims to help companies working with climate-related technologies to turn ideas into viable businesses.
Launched with the financial backing of the British and Danish governments, the Kenyan CIC is the world’s first. It is hosted by the Strathmore Business School in collaboration with Global Village Energy Partnership International (GVEP), PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI), and Johannes Zutt, World Bank Country Director for Kenya, believes it will help Kenya “to promote green growth, to protect the environment, to create jobs…and to increase climate resilience”. Other centres are planned for Ethiopia, South Africa, India, Vietnam and the Caribbean.
Companies supported by the CIC will have access to funding, business advice, market research, and facilities for the design and development of products. The aim is to give them opportunities to make themselves more attractive to larger investors.
“If you look around the world, you will see that there is in fact a fair amount of capital out there looking for investment opportunities…but they fear going [into] an environment they don’t understand” explains Jonathan Coony, coordinator for the infoDev Climate Technology Programme at the World Bank.
Read more: Think Africa Press