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Kenyan entrepreneur wins global award for increasing farmers’ yields with solar energy

Dysmus Kisilu solar energy entrepreneur

Dysmus Kisilu, a Kenyan entrepreneur last week has won a Progress Award, in recognition of his efforts in providing smallholder farmers especially from rural Kenya with solar-powered agricultural tools and services upping their production.

The global award presented by Goalkeepers, a gathering of young world leaders, an event which was held on September 26, 2018, in New York, United States, on the occasion of the 73rd General Assembly of the United Nations (UN). Three world leaders were honoured during the ceremony for their work in support of development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs. Dysmus Kisilu represented African in the top three of the 2018 ranking.

Kisilu is the founder of Solar Gel, a company that provides small Kenyan farms (80 per cent female) with renewable energy services to increase agricultural productivity.

Solutions include irrigation kits and cold storage units, all powered by solar energy. To date, 3,000 women in rural areas have been equipped with these tools, increasing agricultural yields by more than 150 per cent compared to 2016.

“The idea is not only to increase yields, but also to make new generations aware of renewable energies,” said Kisilu.

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To enable him reach many young people, Kisilu has also launched a project dubbed “Everyone, teaches, trains and wins”, through the Solar Freeze startup.  This is an initiative to develop the next generation of leaders in renewable energy and smart agriculture in a context of climate change.

Currently the company supports young people aged 18 to 29 to train them in the operation, maintenance and repair of renewable energy equipment and in the transfer of skills in intelligent agriculture.

So far the programme has provided 100 young people with access to regular income through training.

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Dysmus Kisilu is a product of the University of California in the United States. He quickly realised that renewable energy was a credible solution to boost the productivity of smallholder farmers and improve the living conditions of vulnerable people.

“Our company has also installed fully solar-powered refrigerators in the Kakuma refugee camp in northern Kenya to improve their living conditions and enable doctors to store their vaccines”, said the 25 years old entrepreneur.

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Goalkeepers Awards is an annual ceremony that brings together young world leaders in New York. At the end of the conference-presenting ideas and initiatives in favour of development, the best are honoured by the Bill and Melinda-Gates Foundation, the initiator of this project. The challenge of the billionaire couple is to stimulate progress towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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