REACT Kenya Relief Fund
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in June 2020 we launched the Kenya REACT Relief Fund to award emergency finance to renewable energy companies that are meeting the energy needs of low-income off-grid households in Kenya. The funding is designed to protect jobs and service provision.
The Covid-19 pandemic threatens to reverse this valuable progress and increase energy poverty and inequality across Kenya. Supply chains and distribution networks have been restricted by lockdowns, curfews, and social distancing measures. Rural customers are struggling with steep decreases in income and cannot afford even micro-payments to access lighting for their homes. They risk losing the access to the energy and information services that they need to better sustain themselves during the pandemic.
So far we have committed US$1.7m, with emergency grants of between US$50,000 and US$200,000 to cover short-term working capital needs and technical assistance. This support has helped hard-hit companies and communities build resilience in the face of COVID-19, benefitting 11,990 households and impacting 59,950 people. These efforts also sustained 512 direct jobs, 45% of which went to female employees.
Purpose of the Fund
The specific objectives of the fund are to:
- Provide relief to off-grid energy companies so that their employees, customers, and supply chains are not adversely affected by Covid-19 economic shocks;
- Guarantee energy access as an essential service (lighting, cooking and productive use of power) during the COVID-19 emergency;
- Provide targeted technical assistance to enable companies to develop solid strategies of coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Understand the impacts that COVID-19 has had on low-income, off-grid households.