BY RUTH CAROL ATIENO
The Youth in Energy Empowerment Program (YEEP) is an Youth Innovation internship program run under Eenovators Limited with the aim to equip graduates with a background in engineering, and aged between 21-30 years with energy skills and experience required to position them for employment and entrepreneurship in the energy space.
Eenovators Limited is an Energy Service Company (ESCO) founded in March 2013 with the vision to ensure prudent use of energy and water to protect the environment. This is accomplished by conducting energy and water audits, implementing energy management projects, performing measurement and verification for energy and water management projects and developing capacity through training. Eenovators also provides consulting and advisory services in the energy sector.
YEEP cohort 1 was launched on the 19th of January 2021, through a virtual event attended by partners and the selected students. This Cohort is being implemented under the project ‘Building ESCO Models for Promotion of Food Security through Water and Energy Management’ which is a collaboration between Eenovators Limited and the Water and Energy for Food Grand Challenge.
‘Building ESCO Models for Promotion of Food Security through Water and Energy Management with a Focus on Youth Empowerment’ is an initiative that targets the agri-food industry in Kenya and is aiming to open up opportunities to build new energy access markets, increased economic productive capacity and setting the communities and economies on a path towards sustainable development while meeting the SDGs.
YEEP cohort 1 consist of 12 youth; four (4) girls and eight (8) boys, who will undergo a ten month programme consisting of formal technical training, essential skills training for professional development as well as a practical industrial attachment for hands on experience. The programme commences with the formal four months training period covering The Energy Audit Technician (EAT) syllabus, which is the core syllabus for this cohort and will be followed by examinations for international certification. The training is being provided by the Institute of Energy Professionals Africa (IEPA) and is specializing on water auditing, energy auditing, and energy and water management. Learners will then undergo a six months internship upon completion of the training and passing of exams.
The program has identified ten host sites, in the agrifood industry, where the students will be placed for internship. It has also engaged Energy and Water Management experts who will mentor the YEEP cohort 1 students throughout the training and internship period.
IEPA represents the international certification body the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) in the Sub-Saharan Africa and provides credible, recognized and high quality accredited skills and training programs to the Sub-Sahara African market.
In addition to the EAT syllabus, the learners under YEEP cohort 1 will also learn essential skills which are key in developing their communication and leadership skills. The syllabus for these sessions include: The Art of Communication; Leading Self and Others; Taking Charge of Change; Personal Branding; Professional Image and Etiquette; Succeeding at Interviews; and Emotional Intelligence
During the internship period, YEEP students with support and guidance from mentors and project partners will be tasked with capacity development for staff in the 10 selected host sites in the areas of energy and water management for promotion of food security. As a result, approximately 200 people will be equipped with knowledge and skills on how to use energy and water efficiency as a tool to promote food production.
In addition to capacity development, the project will contribute to the sustainable development agenda, help combat climate action, boost the employability of the youth under YEEP and also help reduce the global carbon footprint through adoption of efficient use of energy and water.
At the end of the program, the students will have the necessary skills to perform well in their careers. This programme marks the beginning of a socially, environmentally and economically impactful intervention that will see young people in the region taking charge of energy transformation and embedding transferrable skills to further impact the community and their circles of influence. This cohort serves as the springboard for further youth empowerment programmes across the region. Successes and achievements from the programme will be documented for replication across Africa.