Kenyan all-girls school recognised for rooftop photovoltaic plan that will reduce utilities expense
Starehe Girls’ Centre won the Zayed Future Energy Prize in the Global High Schools category, Africa region, at an awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi, UAE, today. Now in its ninth cycle, the UAE’s international prize recognises pioneers in the fields of renewable energy and sustainability.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, presented awards to nine winners across five categories. Heads of state and dignitaries from across the world attended the ceremony, taking place during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the largest gathering on sustainability in the Middle East.
Speaking after the awards ceremony, Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize Dr Nawal Al-Hosany said: “We are delighted to welcome Starehe Girls’ Center to our growing international community as the winner of the Africa region of the Global High Schools category. We were impressed by the vision shown within their project proposal and the legacy it will leave for future generations of students. Empowering young people is critical to delivering a sustainable future, and we hope this school will act as a benchmark for others in the region to think and act sustainably”
Starehe Girls’ Centre was recognised for a proposed project to implement a rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system that will supplement the school’s electricity supply. Once operational, the PV system will reduce the school’s annual utilities bill by 20 percent, allowing them to enrol an additional 10 girls in the upcoming academic year.
Commenting on the achievement, project coordinator Ms. Wilkista Onyango from Starehe Girls’ School said, “We are very excited and feel honoured to have been named as a winner of the Zayed Future Energy Prize. Our students are humbled and feel very proud to be contributing to the dream of the school’s founding fathers to provide quality education that nurtures young people to give back and promote sustainability.”
In 2012, the Global High Schools category was launched as part of the UAE leadership’s commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative and educating future generations about sustainability. Completing its fifth year, the category has empowered 24 schools to incorporate renewable energy and sustainability into their schools and curricula.
Explaining the influence of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, Ms. Wilkista Onyango said, “Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s legacy has, through the Global High Schools category of the prize, taught us that as young people, we are stewards of sustainable development. We are not too young to be involved in helping to raise awareness in our communities and globally about the measures that can be taken to curb global warming. His legacy is sending ambassadors of change into the world to creatively think and implement clean energy development projects.”
Established by the UAE government in 2008, the Zayed Future Energy Prize has recognised 57 pioneers from around the world and created a growing community, committed to finding solutions that will meet the challenges of climate change, energy security and the environment. To date, more than 289 million people are experiencing the sustainable actions of the prize winners and this number continues to grow each year.
Submissions will open soon for the 10th Zayed Future Energy Prize. For more information, visit www.zayedfutureenergyprize.com.