Using Renewable Energy to Transform Fishing Livelihoods in Kenya (RE4Ice)

We are excited to announce the launch of a new project in Kenya which will reach more than 11,000 people with access to clean drinking water and ice for use in the fish supply chain in the Lake Victoria region.

The livelihoods of tens of thousands of Kenyan people rely on fishing in this region. Fishing is a vital source of employment and an important part of the national economy. Yet the majority of workers in this industry are unable to earn a decent living and live on the cusp of poverty.

Poverty is especially high in remote offgrid communities. Artisan fishers in these communites are isolated from markets and have little leverage when it comes to negotiating a fair price for their catch. Without access to ice and cold storage, they are unable to preserve their catch and are forced to sell quickly and cheaply.

Renewable World’s new pilot project, RE4Ice, will develop fisheries related infrastructure, initially focused on the provision of ice and purified water, to enable fish workers from an island community to reduce post-harvest losses, improve the quality of fish and increase profit margins.

Samuel Dwele, Senior Chief from Takawiri Island, told us:

“Having an ice-making machine with the capacity to meet all our ice needs for fish preservation would transform lives in Takawiri Island as this will reduce the pressure to take the catch to the market on a daily basis for fear of the fish going bad.”

According to Moses Bodi, the Beach Management Unit’s secretary general:

“A community-owned ice making machine would guarantee household food and income security for local fishermen as they will be able to aggregate their catch and sell to the highest bidder.”

RE4Ice has been designed to contribute to the Homa Bay Development Plan’s focus on tackling environmental degradation through the promotion of sustainable fishing and post-harvest management to tackle overfishing, whilst mitigating against climate change through the introduction of clean technologies. In addition to the provision of ice, clean water – which is a requirement for icemaking – will be produced and sold at an affordable rate through the project, contributing to the Plan’s priority of increasing clean water access.

Beyond the initial focus on ice and clean water provision, the pilot will explore other ways to strengthen the fisheries market by increasing access to supporting services, such as finance and mobile technology, and including the eventual expansion of value addition services, such as fish processing and packaging which will create more jobs and increase gains at community level.

We are delighted to have the support of EKOenergy ecolabelling for the implementation of this project.