Past Event

Healthy Cities Series Part III: Providing Safe and Affordable Cooking Energy in African Cities

October 16, 2023
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
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Online Columbia Global Centers | Nairobi

Nearly 700 million people rely on traditional biomass fuels such as wood, charcoal, dung and agricultural residues for cooking in sub-Saharan Africa. Over-reliance on fuel wood by the rural population and charcoal by the urban dwellers has enormously contributed to forest degradation in Africa and produced dangerous emissions that have caused many deaths of children under five in sub-Saharan Africa.

African households should embrace the shift to clean cooking fuels as a pivotal step in combating climate change, deforestation and indoor pollution, thus fostering healthy cities. In our final Healthy Cities Series episode titled Providing Safe and Affordable Cooking Energy in African Cities, climate and clean-energy experts will discuss the trends of modern cooking energy consumption in African cities, the benefits of clean cooking energy, market barriers to clean cooking transition in African cities and governments' initiatives to transition to clean cooking energy in African cities on October 16th at 5 pm EAT. Register here.

CGC | Nairobi organized the Healthy Cities Series in partnership with the Global Columbia Collaboratory, and its first episode, Rethinking Food Systems in Africa, discussed the importance of promoting natural, local foods and sustainability. The second episode, Reimagining African Cities, will explore factors needed to create thriving, long-lasting, adaptable, and inclusive African cities 


vijay modi

Vijay Modi is Professor of Mechanical Engineering, at Columbia Engineering, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He is currently working closely with city and national agencies/utilities to understand how energy services can be more accessible, more efficient, and cleaner. Modi’s areas of expertise are energy resources and energy conversion technologies. While his early work was on computational fluid dynamics and micro-electro-mechanical systems, his recent work has been on energy infrastructure design and planning, solar energy, energy efficiency in agriculture, and data analytics spanning urban settings to remote rural settingsProfessor Modi received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1984 and worked as a post-doc at MIT from 1984 to 1986 before joining the faculty at Columbia University. He is past-Chair of Mechanical Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Between October 2011 and 2012, he was a member of the U.N. Secretary General’s high-level task force on “Sustainable Energy for All” and he currently leads the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network working group on Energy Access for All.


Dr. Austine Owuor Otieno is a Water and Environmental Engineering Professional registered with the Engineers Board of Kenya. He obtained a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering and Management from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya, in 2023. He also acquired an MSc in Land and Water Resources Management from the University of Nairobi in 2017. He graduated with a BSc in Water and Environmental Engineering from Egerton University in 2011. He has extensive research and industrial experience in the Design and Implementation of Waste to Energy Technologies, Assessment and Promotion of Household Clean Cooking Technologies, Water and Wastewater Treatment and Quality Assessment Design of Water Supply Systems, Environmental Impact Assessment, and Mobile Data Collection Technique (Kobo Collect). Besides research and industrial practice, he is also a Lecturer at the Technical University of Kenya. Overall, Dr. Austine Owuor Otieno is enthusiastic about engaging in activities geared towards using clean energy as a climate mitigation strategy, solid and liquid waste management, and implementing approaches to increase access to clean water.

Kevin Kinusu

Kevin Kinusu is a strategic thinker in social entrepreneurship, SME Coach, and social enterprise builder with over 10 years in managing programs. He is the Managing Director for Africa Bioenergy Programs Limited. This enterprise has stemmed from a public-private partnership program under the Africa Biogas Partnership Program (ABPP) called the Kenya Biogas Program. The biogas program in Kenya, under Kinusu's leadership, is the fastest-growing and largest domestic biogas program in Africa by household adoption rates and a winner of the Globe Energy Award Kenya 2019. Kinusu, under this program, has supported over 22,000 rural households' access to clean and sustainable cooking energy by enabling them to adopt domestic biodigester technologies. To deliver these services in Kenya, Kinusu is working with 172 small and medium-sized enterprises across Kenya, whom he has nurtured under an accelerator program he founded in 2017, the biogas enterprise accelerator facility (BEAF). Over the last four years, these companies have generated over 6,000 full-time equivalent job opportunities across Kenya. 
In his early career, Kinusu pioneered the formation of the National Potato Council of Kenya –NPCK and served as the interim coordinator in 2011. In the same year, he was part of the founding members of the Kenya Climate Change Working Group (KCCWG). He was appointed to represent an agriculture-oriented civil society organization in the national steering committee, where he also chaired the Climate Change Bill Task Force. In his time with KCCWG, he led the lobby for developing a climate change bill enacted in 2016. As a champion and advocate for action on climate change, he joined Oxfam GB as the National Climate Change Advocacy Officer in 2012. He later moved to the Hivos Foundation as the Climate and Energy Advocacy Coordinator for the East Africa region in 2013, and Techfortrade as the East Africa Director, before taking up the challenge to build Kenya Biogas program where he serves to date. Kinusu is passionate about value-based and impact-driven entrepreneurship.