The Strathmore Energy Research Centre (SERC), in partnership with the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), Loughborough University and UK Aid, hosted the Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS) programme – East Africa – launch at Strathmore University. Among the key speakers at the event were Professor Tom Ogada from Ministry of Energy and Professor Ed Brown from Loughborough University.
Launch of eCookBook
The aim of the MECS East Africa launch was to bring together key regional stakeholders to explore the unique opportunities and challenges in each national context, the crossover space between the electrification and clean cooking spheres and how MECS ties into what is already happening in the region. During the event, the eCookBook by Jon Leary and Jacob Fodio Todd was launched. Focusing on one of the most energy intensive popular food groups, beans and cereals, the eCookBook seeks to explore the relationship between energy use and cooking. This is to inform cooks on how best to take advantage of new opportunities such as modern energy efficient cooking appliances. The book was produced in Nairobi.
Despite increased electricity access, people still cook with biomass. Weak grids, affordability of electricity, tradition, perceptions and lack of suitable cooking appliances have hindered scaling up the use of electricity or gas for clean cooking. However, renewable energy generation has increased access to affordable and reliable electricity, and technological advancements have enabled production of appliances that are more energy-efficient but still cook foods to their right taste. This has opened new windows of opportunity.
“What was most important about this workshop was that it showed that electric cooking is a viable cooking option. We at SERC are excited about the opportunities that electric cooking has in store for the continent, especially on the health front,” said Anne Wacera Wambugu, the quality manager at SERC and an electrical appliances and Renewable energy systems expert.
MECS is a UK Aid funded research and innovation programme designed to facilitate a transition away from biomass to modern cooking solutions, such as electricity and LPG. The programme is led by Loughborough University, UK, drawing in global partnerships, including the World Bank’s ESMAP (Energy Sector Management Assistance Program) and CCA (Clean Cooking Alliance, formerly GACC). Other partners at the launch included: Clasp, Energy Saving Trust and Efficiency for Access.
The article was compiled by Christine Mukasa.
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