ENVenture Enterprises that helps rural co-operatives and community-based organisations start clean energy ventures is one of the Africa’s most promising climate and clean energy innovators named in the 2020 Ashden Awards.
Rwanda’s Ampersand that designs and manufacturers electric motorcycles and the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) are on the Ashden Awards long list too.
Founded in 2001, Ashden is based in London, with a mission is to accelerate transformative climate solutions and build a more just world and a network of 225 winners and numerous partners stretching around the world.
Through a range of awards and programmes, Ashden promotes and supports climate and energy innovators – including businesses, non-profits and public sector organisation.
ENVenture accelerates rural cooperatives/CBOs in Uganda to start clean energy ventures using a “venture capital” model where a seed incubator invests small amounts very early in a large number of CBOs.
Over a 1-year period of monitoring their energy sales and loan repayments, the best performers are selected for our Growth Accelerator, which includes offering larger debt, financial management support, and investment-readiness.
“This model allows ENVenture to build a pipeline of viable local last mile distributors for clean energy, with capacity building at the heart of all its programs,” says ENVenture officials.
This year ENVenture and others are on the list of Africa’s most promising climate and clean energy innovators whose work will electrify rural areas, boost sustainable urban transport and improve the lives of refugees and farmworkers.
The longlist features ten African organisations, along with 34 other innovators from around the world. Eleven final winners will be celebrated at the Ashden Award Ceremony in London this July.
“Africa’s impressive culture of innovation and entrepreneurship is reflected in our long list. Africa is on the frontline of the climate crisis, with seven of the top ten climate change-affected countries in the continent, so it’s crucial we promote energy solutions created and proven locally,” said Ashden CEO Harriet Lamb.
Lamb said with the climate worsening every day, they were particularly keen to see solutions that could trigger systemic change – the sort of radical shift that will be vital in the years ahead.
“Another key trend in this year’s list is the power of co-operatives and community groups, showing us that when people come together, even the most marginalised can drive climate action. And we saw powerful evidence of the co-benefits of sustainability – its power to immediately deliver jobs and skills, better health, greater gender equality, more pleasant cities and much more.”
Close to 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are without regular access to electricity, and polluting cookstoves means many are dying just to put food on the table.
What’s more, the climate emergency is creating extreme weather, worsening conflict and making it harder for people to earn a living.
“Clean energy can be a huge part of the solution. Now we need more action to support it from investors and politicians.This diversity is crucial – taking on the climate emergency will need action everywhere, from every section of society,” said Lamb.
The Ashden longlist reveals great work in cities and rural areas up and down the continent, carried out by governments and city authorities, businesses, social enterprises and community organisations.
The African entrants also embody many of the fundamental qualities needed in the years ahead – inclusivity, holistic thinking, and a desire to change systems and rethink the rules of the game said Lamb.
The Ashden Humanitarian Energy Award is one of 11 prizes making up the 2020 Ashden Awards. Together, the awards highlight proven solutions to the climate crisis and energy access challenges. Winners receive a cash prize, development support, and the chance to connect with investors and leading figures in the energy and climate sector.
Since 2001, Ashden has awarded more than 225 ground-breaking organisations. This year’s winners will be revealed in June and honoured at an awards ceremony in London on 2 July.
African organisations on the 2020 Ashden Awards long list
Crossboundary Energy Access, Tanzania
Unlocking financing for electricity mini-grids.
Togolese Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Agency
A national plan to improve energy access across Togo.
Helping rural co-operatives and community-based organisations start clean energy ventures.
Mucho Mangoes, Kenya
A broad package of support for farmers in Kenya, including access to solar-powered drying technology.
Gaia Clean Energy, Ethiopia
Safer cooking fuels distributed by cooperatives run by refugees and host community members
Cameroon Gender and Environment Watch
Protecting the environment by boosting sustainable income-generation in the Kilum-ljim forest.
Electric motorcycles designed and manufactured in Africa.
Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority
Bringing cleaner buses to the streets of Kigali.
Qhubeka, South Africa
Building bicycles, training mechanics and promoting safe cycling
Architects creating cooling, sustainable buildings for farmworkers.