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Bioenergy and Poverty in Kenya: Attitudes, Actors and Activities

DFID-Policy Innovation Systems for Clean Energy Security (PISCES)

Policy Innovation Systems for Clean Energy Security (PISCES ) is a five-year Research Programme Consortium (RPC) funded by the United Kingdom’s (UK) Department for International Development (DFID). It is implemented internationally through five core partners in India, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Tanzania, along with a range of associate institutions and a high-level Consortium Advisory Group (CAG). The idea behind the PISCES project is to generate new knowledge on bioenergy that policy makers can use to formulate or enhance respective national policies and strategies on bioenergy. PISCES has broadly categorised bioenergy into three types: bioresources (e.g. woodfuel and charcoal); biofuels (e.g. crops specifically grown to produce energy such as Jatropha Curcas for biodiesel or sugar cane for the production of bioethanol) and bioresidues (e.g. agricultural residues such as maize cobs or stalks as well as animal dung which can be used for the production of biogas for household use). The current global debate on sustainability of biofuels (especially biodiesel and bioethanol for the transport sector) production provides added impetus for PISCES .

This report presents the findings of socio-economic baseline surveys carried out by the Eastern Africa office of Practical Action Consulting in Kenya between March and December 2008. This was part of a broader baseline data creation exercise carried out across the respective PISCES countries around the same period to help provide a better understanding of some of the current issues relating to bioenergy use, access and delivery at the community level. In order to get a ‘peoples’ perspective, a qualitative approach was adopted by carrying out Focussed Group Discussions (FGDs) with target communities from five parts of the country, namely Nairobi, Nakuru, Kisumu, Lodwar and Mandera.

Discussions looked at the key interrelated issues of food, water and energy security in relation to bioenergy at the household level. Questions were asked about the types of bioresources typically used for household energy needs; how these resources were accessed; the technologies currently used; gender and socio-cultural dimensions of household energy; and constraints and trends in access and use of the types of bioenergy over the years. Meetings were held with stakeholders in the same areas to establish their role and activities in bioenergy in the respective regions. Interviews were also held with a range of selected institutions in the urban areas of the survey sites, such as schools, hospitals, small hotels etc., on their bioenergy usage at the institutional level.

The overall objective of this study was to identify community opportunities and constraints in the access and use of bioenergy, with a view to identifying some of the ways in which these opportunities and constraints can be harnessed and/or overcome during the life of the PISCES project.

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Categories: Energy, Kenya

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