- Category: News and Highlights
Switch Africa Green (SAG) project national stakeholders workshop was held on the 16-17 November 2015 at the Boma Inn, Nairobi. The objective of the two-day event was to provide an avenue for the common understanding of the overall project objectives, roles and responsibilities as well as the expectations and required outputs of the country projects among the national stakeholders, grantees, partners and final beneficiaries (MSMEs).
The workshop’s opening remarks were delivered by Mr Thomas Musandu from the Ministry of Environment and Rhoda Wachira from United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Rhoda gave a detailed overview of SAG project, the grantees as well as the expected outputs of the workshop. The participants were informed that the Ministry of Environment had developed a Green Economy Strategy to provide policy direction on green strategies. The forum also got to know that the Switch Africa Green budget was Ksh 19 million and that it would be allocated to grants for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).The programme is being carried out in six countries in Africa: Kenya, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mauritius and South Africa. In Kenya, the programme focuses on agriculture, manufacturing and tourism.
Mr Musandu, on the other hand, took the participants through the SAG report, which was co-authored by KIPPRA, and invited them to give comments. Apart from co-authoring the report, KIPPRA also provided technical support and a number of its staff members were actively involved in the workshop’s activities, including the group discussions.
Other guests who made presentations on the SAG project and its importance to Kenya and the continent are Dr Patrick Mwesigye from UNEP and Dr Hezekiah Okeyo from the Ministry of Environment.
Most of the workshop, however, focused on the four grantees and their partners, who made detailed presentations on their specific projects. The first grantee was International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), which together with its partners, is undertaking the ‘Community-Based Domestication and Commercialization of the Traditional Medicinal and Insecticidal Plant, Mondia whytei, Adjacent to Kakamega Forest’ project. The project aims conserving the forest by enabling the systematic harvesting of Mondia whytei, an indigenous medicinal plant, and the development of a new nutraceutical commercial product that is branded Mondia Tonic.
The second grantee to present was the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), which highlighted its work with various MSMEs to incorporate Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) processes and to promote resource efficiency, environmental quality, create green jobs and tackle poverty.
The third was SUS-TOUR, an initiative aimed at enhancing sustainable tourism innovation for community empowerment in Kenya. The project aims at ensuring greening of the tourism sector through SCP as well as empowering the community to ensure that they not only benefit from tourism activities but also participate in conservation efforts.
The last grantee, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), made its presentation on the second day of the conference. The presentation focused on the leather industry and its contribution to Kenya’s economy. The participants learnt that the industry’s output was higher than that of the sugar and tea sectors. The objectives of the project are to design and enhance competitiveness, promote recycling and reduction in the use of chemicals, develop a roadmap of improving effluent management and quantification of carbon footprint of the leather sector.
Through the presentation, participants also learnt that the project uses the blended approach in the selection of MSMEs in the high, middle and lower ends and that its geographical coverage was Nairobi, Thika, Nyeri, Sagana and Nakuru.
The greening initiative has seen 30 per cent increase in labour productivity, 15 per cent reduction in energy consumption, 30 per cent reduction in machine idle time, 30 per cent reduction in solid waste and improved quality of soles produced using recycled materials.
Participants got a chance comment and seek clarifications after every presentation.
The presentations were followed by group discussions where each grantee together with their partners discussed the challenges they faced in the implementation of the projects, coordination mechanisms during implementation and the approaches the MSMEs could use to engage with stakeholders.
After the group discussions, each group made presentations of their findings. The workshop ended with the presentation of dummy cheques to the grantees and a group photo of all the participants.
By Jane Kenda and Keziah Njeri