The KCB Foundation, the social investment arm of Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), has launched a new programme that will help learning institutions in Kenya switch to clean energy cooking solutions using Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG).
The programme will offer partial grants of 10% to 30% of the cost of buying and installing LPG equipment for eligible secondary schools, both public and private. The remaining cost will be covered by pre-arranged financing solutions from KCB.
The initiative aims to address the environmental, economic and health challenges posed by the widespread use of firewood and charcoal for cooking in schools. According to the foundation, about 90% of public schools in Kenya rely on firewood for cooking and spend up to $20,000 per year on the fuel, which accounts for a large share of their meal budgets.
Caroline Wanjeri, the Head of KCB Foundation, said that the programme is part of the bank’s efforts to support Africa’s drive to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7, which calls for universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. She added that the programme will also promote the adoption of clean and efficient cooking solutions that use less fuel, reduce smoke emissions and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Schools have been identified as large contributors to inefficient cooking as they prepare high volumes of meals by consuming over 685,000 tons of firewood and charcoal per year. This has drastic consequences on the environment, economic development, and public health in a world where close to 2.6 billion people still lack access to clean cooking solutions. We are therefore keen to position schools as the cornerstone of Kenya’s sustainable future powered by affordable, reliable, clean, and modern energy distributed to all,” Wanjeri said.
The foundation said that it has already disbursed loans worth KShs. 60 million to 30 schools across the country with KCB Foundation giving KShs. 30 million in the form of grants during the pilot phase.
“KCB has been at the forefront of mobilizing the financial sector’s climate action and supporting carbon-positive projects in society. By supporting the transition to cleaner fuels like LPG, we shall be enabling learning institutions to realize up to 40% savings in their cooking budget with better health and environmental outcomes, improved kitchen hygiene, and motivation of workers. It will also be an opportunity to build on our existing efforts to widen the range and reach of activities in support of a just energy transition that is partly spearheaded by our own greening programme dubbed ‘Linda Miti’ which has seen us plant over 160,000 trees in 943 schools this year,” Wanjeri added.