Nairobi — Affordable clean cooking stove company Usafi Greens has won the 2023 Ashden Awards for providing displaced people with clean energy.
The startup makes and supplies affordable, low-carbon cook stoves in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp, which have created job opportunities for locals besides improving their health.
Usafi was among five global firms that won various awards at the Royal Geographical Society in London, United Kingdom (UK).
Africa was center stage in this year’s awards, with four of the five global South winners being African low-carbon innovators and one receiving an Outstanding Achievement Award. Three more were from the UK.
Winners from Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, and Cameroon were celebrated for driving radical progress in tackling the biggest climate challenges–working in clean energy, natural climate solutions, and agriculture.
CERAF-Nord, which supports communities in the north of Cameroon to restore degraded land through agroforestry and beekeeping, was another winner.
In the Powering Futures in Clean Energy category, Burasolutions Solar Academy in Nigeria was celebrated for training women and marginalized people to join the clean energy workforce.
The Ashden Award for Integrated Energy Africa was won by Power for All for its Utilities 2.0 Twaake project in Uganda.
Husk Power Systems received the Outstanding Achievement Award for its work rapidly expanding community solar minigrids in Africa and Asia.
Husk previously won an Ashden Award in 2011 for its work bringing clean energy to 180,000 rice farmers in Eastern India.
Just over a decade later, their massive growth demonstrates what’s possible when clean energy pioneers get the backing they need.
The company aims to add more than 1,400 new minigrids with a projected 300,000 new connections over the next five years, and last month it announced it had secured an equity and debt investment worth more than US$100 million–the largest-ever equity raise in the minigrid industry.
Collectives for Integrated Livelihoods Initiatives (Clnl) was a winner from India. CLNL helps women in India’s Central Tribal Belt use clean energy to raise their incomes and become leaders in their communities.
Ashden Award winners also included three organizations from the UK. All receive grants, global publicity, and connections to funders, investors, and partners that can help them create even more impact.
“Our winners prove that people are passionate about creating practical solutions to the climate emergency – whether using clean energy to power up a thriving business in Uganda or giving their time to restore rivers in the UK,” Ashden CEO Ashok Sinha said.
“And just look what happens as a result: higher incomes, better health, stronger communities and the creation of new jobs,” he added.
“But these brilliant solutions need serious backing from policymakers and investors,” Sinha continued.
“The Global South is still waiting for promised climate finance. Our international winners are powering up farms and refugee camps, creating jobs for a clean energy future, and protecting threatened rainforests. It’s vital that increased funding reaches these climate heroes.”