Three East African Sustainable Initiatives Win Prestigious Energy Awards

Published: Jun. 13, 2017

By Wedaeli Chibelushi for African Business Review

About Powering Agriculture

Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development supports the development and deployment of clean energy innovations that increase agriculture productivity and stimulate low carbon economic growth in the agriculture sector of developing countries to help end extreme poverty and extreme hunger.

Three sustainable energy trail blazers working in East Africa—Futurepump, Haileybury Youth Trust and Mobisol—have all won a 2017 Ashden Award, the world’s leading green energy awards.

From developing solar irrigation pumps to promoting low-carbon buildings to providing powerful solar home systems, all three organisations have been recognised as leaders in their field in the region.

Winner of the Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy and Water, supported by the Waterloo Foundation, Futurepump makes a low-cost, portable solar irrigation pump for smallholder farmers in Kenya and around the world.

Toby Hammond, Managing Director of Futurepump said: “What a complete honour it is to receive an Ashden Award! Inspired by being in the audience of the 2011 Ashden Awards, we decided to build a company to offer solar irrigation technology to emerging markets.”

Ashden judges added: “Futurepump’s pioneering solar-powered irrigation technology is helping smallholder farmers irrigate more land and leapfrog to year-round sustainable crop growing which is simultaneously increasing their productivity and income as well as allowing them to move away from polluting diesel.”

Haileybury Youth Trust (HYT) is the winner of the Ashden Award for Sustainable Buildings, supported by the Grosvenor Group. HYT is a charity training young people in Uganda to build using interlocking blocks made of compressed earth - a low-cost, carbon-saving alternative to the environmentally damaging fired brick.

“The Ashden Award recognises the work of the team in Uganda, promoting , sustainable training and construction programmes among some of Africa’s poorest communities, in a way that preserves the beautiful but fragile environment,” Haileybury Youth Trust’s Russell Matcham said.

Mobisol – winner of the Ashden Judges’ Special Award - sells powerful solar home systems that allow customers to use fridges, watch TV and charge mobile phones without relying on fossil fuels, and using an affordable mobile payment plan. Some 80,000 solar home systems have been installed in East Africa so far, benefitting more than 400,000 people.

Mobisol’s high power solar systems can be used not just for homes but for small businesses, enabling entrepreneurial customers to earn additional income.

According to Thomas Duveau, Chief Strategy Officer at Mobisol, the whole team at Mobisol is extremely honoured to receive the Judges’ Award this year.

The Ashden Awards are given to pioneers in sustainable energy and are a globally recognised measure of excellence. The winning organisations will receive their Award on Thursday 15 June at a prestigious ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in London. Former Vice-President of the US Al Gore is the keynote speaker and Channel 4 presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy is hosting the Awards.

International Ashden Award winners receive £20,000 in prize money along with a tailored package of support to help scale up their work.

Related News & Events: 
Jul. 28, 2017

Futurepump was among the winners of the 2017 Ashden Awards, which aim to highlight “the best in sustainable energy”.

Jul. 14, 2017

Futurepump's solar irrigation pumps lift farmers out of poverty, encourage the development of businesses and increase access to education for children. Working with funders like Poverty Alleviation Fund makes this technology more accessible, and these life-changing opportunities more possible.

Jun. 15, 2017

Futurepump has won the 2017 International Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy and Water! They were recognized for their solar irrigation pump. This pump is cleaner and more sustainable than diesel pumps, frees farmers from hours of labor, and allows them to grow more crops throughout the year.