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Pioneering sustainable energy investment wins Ashden Award alongside biogas brilliance

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Renowned for identifying and championing ideas and initiatives that deliver sustainable energy in the UK and internationally, the annual Ashden Awards have today been announced and two projects working in Africa – Zambia and Kenya are among the winners.

The Renewable Energy Efficiency Program (REEEP), funded by the Beyond the Grid Fund Zambia (BGFZ) is an ambitious multi-year program, increasing energy access, improving lives and catalyzing economic activity in rural and Peri-urban areas. The BGFZ aims to bring modern energy services to at least 167,000 households – translating to one million Zambians – by 2021. They have won the 2019 Ashden Award for Innovative Finance, supported by Citi.

The other winning organization working in East Africa this year is Sistema.bio, who have won the Ashden Award for Clean Cooking, in association with the Clean Cooking Alliance.

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The winners will be presented with their awards at a prestigious ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in London on Wednesday 3 July. They join more than 215 enterprises that have won an Ashden Award since they were founded in 2001.

More about the winners:

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Ashden Award for Innovative Finance, sponsored by Citi

The innovative Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia, created by the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership(REEP)has brought clean energy to 116,000 people who would otherwise struggle to afford it. It has done this by making it less risky for businesses to enter the country’s off-grid energy market. Many households in one of the world’s poorest countries can now buy lights and mobile phones for the very first time – including many families living in isolated rural areas. The fund builds the market by offering financial incentives to renewable energy companies – their performance is closely watched and payments are linked to the financial requirements of the project. Crucially, the scheme ensures that only high quality products are sold.

Ashden Award for Clean Cooking, sponsored by Waterloo Foundation

Small farmers grow most of the world’s food, and agricultural systems have a huge impact on climate change. Sistema.bio, based in Mexico, working in East Africa this year has created an innovative, affordable biogas system that turns animal waste into the cleanest of cooking fuels and produces a planet-friendly super fertilizer – boosting productivity while lowering carbon emissions. The product’s simple, modular design makes it easy to add more capacity if needed, and the option to pay in instalments makes it available to more farmers. Buyers in Latin America, Africa and Asia no longer have to cook using expensive and polluting wood fuel or fossil fuels. They save money and our forests and climate are protected.

Ashden CEO, Harriet Lamb, said: “The outstanding organizations that make up our 2019 roster can give us all hope: we have the solutions to the climate emergency, solutions that are working already and just need scaling even further. In particular, financial innovation and commitment must be an integral part of ensuring these solutions are sustainable – and that is just what our 2019 winner is showcasing. Others should come and steal their model and their ideas with pride!”

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