News |Social Entrepreneurship| 30 November 2022

Clean and green: Solar-powered safe drinking water kiosks for Lake Victoria residents 

Residents at the new WeTu water-energy hub in Katito
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SESA partners attend the first general assembly in Nairobi
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SESA partners reinstate their commitment to developing smart energy solutions for Africa
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Local residents with Tilmann Straub and Abdala Kassim at the opening of the new hub
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Smart Energy Solutions for Africa (SESA) is funded by the European Commission and consists of a consortium of 30 African and European partners. On October 27, with their Kenyan partner and social enterprise WeTu, they launched the first water-energy hub in Katito (Western Kenya) to provide safe and clean drinking water to residents from low-income households. The new hub can supply 20,000 liters of drinking water to 5,000 residents along with generating green energy for innovative electric mobility approaches.

The launch of the hub corresponded with the SESA consortium’s first general assembly from October 25 – 26 in Nairobi. The general assembly was also the first-ever in-person meeting of all 30 SESA partners. Over the course of the two days, the partners reinstated their commitment to developing smart energy solutions for Africa with the support of local collaborators. Their aim is strengthening local value chains and creating jobs by improving access to productive use of energy through piloting innovative use cases and circular economy approaches.

As the Kenyan partner of the SESA consortium, WeTu has been building their solar-powered hub in Katito for the last 12 months. Abdala Kassim the chief of staff of Kisumu County attended the launch of the hub and lauded the project for supplementing Kenya’s efforts of providing clean and safe water to residents as well as irrigation farming.

WeTu was founded by Siemens Stiftung in January 2019. It is an environment-friendly enterprise leveraging solar energy to provide sustainable innovative solutions with a positive social impact on the communities they serve. It has been chosen as the leading social enterprise for the demonstration of living labs that will provide real-life test areas for innovative energy solutions in Kenya under the SESA project. 

Tilmann Straub, CEO of WeTu and Senior Project Leader at Siemens Stiftung said: “The Lake Victoria region in Kenyan is well-suited to deliver sustainable and innovative solutions with a key focus on providing rural populations with clean energy and safe water. With SESA, we have found the right partners and experts in the field of sustainable energy solutions. By joining forces, we have consolidated our on-ground experience with a combination of both technical and non-technical know-how in the field of productive use of energy that will benefit the residents with a whole range of new basic services.”

The productive use of renewable energy will result in increased productivity, higher economic growth, and an increase in rural employment by increasing economic capacity and lowering transportation costs. In addition, the project contributes toward achieving a number of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): no poverty, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, and decent work and economic growth. 

Alongside the existing interventions implemented by WeTu, the SESA project will pilot and test new innovative approaches and business models such as solar cooling, electric vehicles, solar for agriculture, battery packs for households and businesses, and institutions to increase access to productive use of renewable energy.

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