Supermodel and UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Goodwill Ambassador Gisele Bundchen went to rural Kenya to experience for herself the effects of energy poverty and to see how Kenyans are transforming their lives by using sustainable energy. “Energy affects everything. Children can study at night when they have access to electricity. If we can bring electricity to everyone, we can help people to survive,” she told a press conference at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi.
Ms. Bundchen’s visit to Kenya took her to Kibera, East Africa’s largest slum, to look at biogas centers (turning human waste into power), to Kisumu, in western Kenya, where she took part in collecting firewood and learned about fuel-efficient cook stoves and to the Mount Kenya area where micro-hydro power is bringing electricity to over 2,000 households.
UNEP has worked tirelessly to increase the use of renewable energies to expand the Green Economy, with a special emphasis on Africa, and Kenya in particular. The UN’s new office facility in Nairobi, which Ms. Bündchen visited and which houses UNEP and UN-HABITAT, has 6,000 square meters of solar panels and generates as much electricity as its 1,200 occupants consume.
Ms. Bundchen’s visit, which was organized by Practical Action in partnership with UNEP, was designed to raise the profile of the IYSEA and highlight the importance of energy access globally.