Kenyan jiko pioneer finalist at global green awards

April 23, 2013
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Cookswell Jiko is poised to win a prestigious international award. Photo/ AFP
Cookswell Jiko is poised to win a prestigious international award. Photo/ AFP

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 23 – Cookswell Jikos – a Kenyan family business that sells efficient cooking stoves and promotes reforestation has been announced as a finalist in the 2013 Ashden Awards, the world’s leading green energy prize.

Cookswell was the brainchild of the late Dr Maxwell Kinyanjui who was a pioneer in improving the sustainability of charcoal in Kenya, developing the charcoal-saving Kenya Ceramic Jiko and other technologies, and promoting commercial reforestation and efficient charcoal production.

His family continues to take his ideas forward, selling jikos, charcoal ovens, and small charcoal kilns, and working with partners like the Woodlands Trust to plant trees and ensure the sustainability of the business.

Ashden Director Sarah Butler said the Kenyan firm has a tried and tested model for protecting forests and improving health pointing out the ‘seed to ash’ approach demonstrates a true commitment to sustainability in every sense of the word.

“Every year we search for the most exciting green energy trailblazers in the developing world. Out of seven finalists for this year’s International Ashden Awards, we are delighted that five of them work in Africa. These world-leading organisations are supplying more than sustainable energy for light and heat; they are improving health and education, protecting ecosystems and spurring economic growth. These are big ideas that will be making a big difference for years to come,” Butler said.

Sustainability Director and co-founder of Cookswell Jikos Teddy Kinyanjui said that they are very pleased to have been selected as an Ashden finalist.

“Cookswell Jikos provides quality and durable products, and is guaranteed to save energy,” Kinyanjui said.

The Ashden Awards were founded in 2001 to encourage the greater use of sustainable energy to reduce poverty and tackle climate change.

While the Awards receive entries from around the world, five of this year’s seven International Ashden Award finalists are businesses and social enterprises working in Africa.

Countries represented in 2013 include Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Finalists have taken a range of approaches to meeting the poor’s energy needs and improving lives, including affordable cooking stoves that save charcoal, pay-as-you-go solar power, and business support for local green enterprise.

Four winners of the 2013 International Ashden Awards will be announced at a prestigious ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in London, UK on June 20 with prizes of up to £40,000 (Sh5 million) to be awarded.

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