The social impact of African SCENe: delivering access to clean energy, digital literacy and life-long learning opportunities to slum communities in Kenya

Solar panels providing sustainable energy for community hubs in Kenya,promoting education accessibility and empowerment through renewable energy solutions.
Solar panels powering community hubs in Kenya, enabling education accessibility and empowerment through sustainable energy solutions

Equal access to quality education is pivotal for sustainable development in developing countries. However, a key factor such as energy poverty is making it harder to achieve this United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG).

The African SCENe project, a solar-powered community energy hub, strives to empower and enable the government to deliver on its bold promise – to transform its educational system, and to improve the prospects of the next generation of Kenyans entering the workforce. A pool of young, well-educated, and economically active talent, will contribute to the economic success of the country and help the Kenyan government fully realise Kenya Vision 2030.

The African SCENe consortium aims to achieve this via:

  1. The installation of renewable energy systems to power the infrastructure for delivering the CBC
  2. Providing a platform for life-long learning for the wider community
  3. Offering energy services at fair and affordable prices, utilising a blended finance model made up of social impact corporate finance, public-private partnership with the government, green bonds, carbon finance and relevant grants
  4. Transforming existing schools and resource centres into community energy hubs. Making use of existing community assets, enabling the creation of value for community members and micro-entrepreneurs alike

What is energy poverty?

Energy poverty is the lack of  sufficient, affordable, dependable, high-quality, safe, and environmentally friendly energy services to support growth. This means people don’t have access to modern energy services to do simple things like cooking, heating, lighting, and powering their appliances.

A home gets the label “energy poor” if it doesn’t have regular access to modern energy services like natural gas and electricity, or if the cost of its energy use is too high to afford basic energy services.

Energy poverty and its impact on Kenya’s education

Kenya often serves as a reference point for rapid electrification. The “Jewel of Africa” aggressively increased access to electricity, achieving a 73% electrification rate from 8% in less than two decades. 

However, despite its availability, electricity remains largely unaffordable for most Kenyans. The government’s imposition of higher taxes and tariffs, coupled with the devaluation of the local currency (Kenyan Shilling) and the rising cost of importing fossil fuels, has increased electricity costs for Kenyan households. 

Higher electricity costs in Kenya have had a ripple effect on its education. Factoring electricity costs into school fees has increased the expense of education for Kenyans.

Additionally, schools often conduct studies in unfavourable learning environments, lacking projectors, computers, or even internet access.

As a result, there has been a drop in Kenya’s educational quality and competitiveness in recent years. In 2023, Kenya ranked 7th on the continent for educational outcomes behind countries like the Seychelles, South Africa, Botswana and Mauritius—a worrisome slip from first position in 2017 and 2018.

African SCENe’s solar-powered classrooms in Kenya

In recent years, schools have increasingly utilised renewable energy by installing solar panels on their rooftops by installing solar panels on their rooftops. Schools in India, Italy, the United States and South Sudan are using solar energy to reduce barriers to quality and affordable education. 

To help Kenya meet its educational needs, African SCENe aims to provide solar-powered classrooms in Kenya, with pilots planned in the slum communities of Kibera and Kangemi in Nairobi, Kenya. By installing solar panels on school rooftops, this African SCENe initiative is a crucial step in making quality education more accessible to Kenyans. 

Benefits of African SCENe’s solar-powered classrooms

African SCENe’s solar-powered classrooms provide numerous benefits for students, local communities and the education system as a whole. These include: 

Conducive learning environments

Modern classrooms have higher energy demands, which hinders the adoption of modern teaching methods. African SCENe’s solar-powered classrooms would provide Kenyan school children with a reliable and sustainable energy source that would be used to power digital or electrical devices. This would allow for a more interactive and dynamic learning experience.

Improves learning outcomes

By using solar panels to provide lighting, schoolchildren would be able to extend study hours into the evening. Allocating more time for schoolwork would have a direct effect on their academic performance

Bridges the digital divide

Solar-powered classrooms increase the usage of digital devices and other forms of technology used in learning. This would increase the rate of technology adoption and make Kenyan schoolchildren more digitally savvy. The Community Revolution (via will design and deliver a digital literacy programme to help maximise the impact of increased access to technology; for the benefit of teachers, pupils and the wider community. Preparing them to participate in a tech-driven global workforce. 

Increases the use of renewable energy sources

Kenya doesn’t fully utilise solar and wind power and contributes a paltry 2% of the country’s electricity. Using solar-powered classrooms would increase the utilisation of renewable sources of energy. This would make the country depend less on unsustainable forms of energy generation.  

Creates awareness of environmental sustainability and ESG

Using solar energy to power classrooms is a way to show schoolchildren the benefits of environmental sustainability. By installing solar panels in primary schools, the African SCENe project would encourage eco-friendly behaviour in young Kenyans, which in effect would set the pace for greater acceptance of ESG goals.

African SCENe consortium member, “Edu-Cater Global”, will also provide STEM learning resources that educate pupils on the principles behind how their energy system works. Providing a practical example of the application of STEM subjects in the hope of inspiring more pupils to seek a career in related industries.

Empowers local communities for sustainable development

The impact of African SCENe’s solar-powered initiative would extend beyond the classroom to the broader community. Schools would become clean energy hubs, offering access to power for essential community services such as water pumping and sustainable cooking. This would not only improve the overall quality of life but also establish educational institutions as catalysts for positive change within their communities.

Reduces cost of education

While the initial investment in solar infrastructure may seem significant, the long-term benefits outweigh the costs. Solar-powered classrooms reduce dependence on conventional energy sources, leading to substantial savings over time. These financial resources can contribute towards improving educational resources and facilities.


Energy poverty has hindered the advancement of education and economic development in Kenya and other developing nations for a long period. However, initiatives like the African SCENe project are leveraging solar power to alleviate this burden and transform the educational landscape. 

By harnessing the abundant solar energy available in Kenya, African SCENe is not only making education more accessible but also more affordable and sustainable.

Join the African SCENe project

By joining the African SCENe project, you directly contribute to the transformation of traditional classrooms and schools into clean energy hubs. Whether you’re an individual or an organisation, your role is crucial.
Your involvement will enhance the quality of education, by providing students with a brighter and more conducive space for learning, enhancing community development, and improving the overall quality of life in communities in Kenya.

Contact us to find out how you can join the project.

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