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COP28: Kenyan feted for electric vehicle use push


 President William Ruto drives himself in an electric car from State House to KICC during the Africa Climate Summit. [Silas Otieno, Standard]

A Kenyan is among the two young people who have won the UN Global Climate Change Awards at the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Sebastian Mwaura and Michelle Zárate Palomec of Mexico  were selected from hundreds of applicants from 120 countries for their outstanding efforts to make their communities more sustainable, resilient, and equitable places to live.

The awards recognise innovative and transformative solutions that address both climate change and wider economic, social, and environmental challenges.

The two projects that have received the UN award represent some of the most practical, scalable, and replicable examples of what people, businesses, governments, and industries are doing to tackle climate change.

Part of the benefits of the award includes a fully paid trip to attend the world climate change conference in Dubai, where the winners will showcase their innovations to the 70,000 participants attending the conference.

The 35-year-old Mwaura is the co-founder of 'YNA Kenya,' whose objective is to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles by providing a robust charging network powered by renewable energy sources.

He is also the founder of the 'HerGo programme,' aimed at bringing women into the e-mobility transport sector to create 12,000 jobs for women as drivers and charge station owners.

“This initiative was born from our commitment to mitigating climate change by promoting renewable energy in the transportation sector,” said Mwaura, who won the award under the “energy transition” category.

“The widespread adoption of electric vehicles and the availability of a robust charging network play a pivotal role in achieving a sustainable and carbon-neutral future,” he said.

YNA Kenya operates E-Ride, an e-mobility entity that offers deliveries, courier services, and charging network facilities powered by solar energy. It aims to introduce electric motorcycles, three-wheelers, and electric vehicles in the future.

“The business model is environmentally friendly and provides a sustainable way to reduce carbon emissions using electric motorcycles, commonly known in East Africa as ‘bodaboda,’” Mwaura said.

The 'Her Go' subsidiary specialises in the delivery of parcels (courier services) in the city of Nairobi and is exclusively for women. The project encourages women to join the automotive industry sustainably, reducing carbon emissions through the use of electric motorcycles. Currently, the motorcycle industry in Kenya is predominantly male-dominated.

The two award winners will be celebrated at an award ceremony on Friday, in an event moderated by award-winning journalist and climate advocate Sophia Li.

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