Ashden aims to Accelerate Innovative Climate Solutions to Foster Equitable Society

Ashned CEO Harriet Lamb

UK-based charity organization, Ashden, has collaborated with entrepreneurs from the Global South for the past two decades, aiming to provide clean energy to the underprivileged, generate green jobs for youth, and raise their standard of living.

Through the Ashden prestigious Awards, climate gurus have been in a position to highlight the leading innovators who show how to offer inexpensive green energy and low-carbon emissions to everyone, including those residing in the most remote rural areas and refugee camps.

Ashden Awards 2022 in Glasgow on 31 October – 13 November 2021. File/COURTESY

The Genesis of Ashden Awards

According to the Ashden CEO, Harriet Lamb, the International Climate Awards was established 20 years ago with the goal of highlighting the leading innovators and trailblazers who were demonstrating how to provide everyone with access to affordable green energy, especially to those who reside in the furthest rural homes, smallholder farmers in villages, and individuals in refugee camps.

Africa marks its first Ashden Awards ceremony

Since the introduction of the Ashden Awards program in 2001, Africa is marking its first Ashden Awards ceremony by having four entities emerge as winners of the Ashden Awards 2022.

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Two organizations from Kenya, Kakuma Ventures and Sokofresh, were named winners of the Ashden Awards 2022, while Energy Generation from Togo and Zonful Energy from Zimbabwe were named joint winners in their respective categories.

Harriet Lamb, Ashden CEO, said: “Through our awards and at this, our first African ceremony, we are proud to celebrate and promote the groundbreaking climate solutions which will deliver a low-carbon future.

“Our winners and runners-up show how the continent is a hotbed of innovation demonstrating the resilience and ingenuity of those most at risk from climate change. They also show that clean energy has the potential to create jobs – 14 million in Africa by 2030 – and boost livelihoods. Green energy is a must.”

“We will be showcasing their inspiring stories at the crucial COP27 climate talks in Egypt, where global leaders should sit up, take notice and provide adequate funding to scale up efforts to deliver a future in which no one is left behind.”

Criteria used to select the potential winners

Winners were chosen from more than 800 applicants before being brought down to 200 globally by judges, including clean energy sector specialists from around the world.

Milestone of the Ashden Awards and goal towards saving planet earth

Ashden works seamlessly to reach zero carbon by 2030. The Ashden-Let’s Go Zero campaign has impacted many schools in the UK, aiming to bring the world to zero carbon.

The Ashden CEO stated that through operating with partners, a large coalition of sustainability organizations as well as IKEA UK and Ireland will support the school staff and students to acquire skills in renewable energy innovation.

Is climate financing a major challenge towards climate mitigation in Africa?

The key to climate mitigation is finance, but there appears to be a complete breakdown of trust between wealthy world countries that promised $100 billion in a year.

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October – 13 November 2021 instructed the poorer countries to get out of gas and oil sites.

As negotiators at the Glasgow climate talks try to agree on greenhouse gas cuts, African leaders say poorer countries can’t be expected to remake their systems as quickly as wealthy ones.

However, the tables turned around and the wealthy countries phoned oil and gas amid the Ukraine war.

According to Ashden, world countries encounter catastrophic breakdowns in trust and they need to repair and reach out to keep people in faith in the multilateral countries.

Ashden’s main theme in the COP27 in Egypt

Ahead of the crucial COP27 climate talks in Egypt, Ashden launched Power Up, a new coalition campaign uniting and amplifying African voices to call for greater global funding for affordable, green energy essential for climate adaptation.

More than 600 million African people go without access to electricity and over 900 million don’t have safe cooking facilities, blocking development and stopping communities from adapting to the threats posed by climate change.

The campaign is backing African policymakers to unlock ambitious pledges from wealthy countries at COP27 and the ongoing UNFCCC process that guides global climate action.

Africa-Europe relationship regarding climate innovation

The reality is that a strong Africa-Europe relationship has been the backbone of the global fight to address climate change.

Kenya is a hub of climate innovation, the Ashden Charity is looking for ways to fund the innovators by taking resources from the wealthy world and channel them to all entrepreneurs across Africa.

According to Harriet Lamb, Africa emit four per cent of global emission yet experiences the impact of a climate crisis.

A case study conducted in some of the Sub-Saharan African countries shows that countries like Nigeria encounter floods while some like Kenya experience extreme drought.

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta contributed much to the COP26 and the Ashden Charity encourage Kenyans to welcome the new administration under President William Ruto which put climate action right at the top of the agenda.

Ahead of COP27, Ashden has also helped launch Power Up, a coalition campaign uniting and amplifying African voices to call for greater global funding for affordable, green energy, essential for climate adaptation and to support the nearly 600 million Africans still without access to electricity.

Since 2001, more than 240 innovators from all over the world have won an Ashden award.

Ashden uses its network of contacts to amplify its voices and raise awareness of the winners.

To maximize impact, the climate solutions charity also makes connections with funders, investors, policymakers, and others, providing a global platform to showcase their work.

The winners of the Ashden awards 2022 will also attend the global Ashden Awards ceremony in London on the 2 November joining three UK award winners.

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