GNF - Water-Energy Hubs für Kenia

Water-Energy Hubs for Kenya


The long version of the project video (22 minutes) is available on the GNF YouTube account.

Five new solar-power stations for people that live off-grid in Kenya

Osram and the Global Nature Fund, together with their local partner Light for Life, are expanding considerably the Kenya off-grid project that was first launched in 2008. In future, residents of off-grid areas in the West of the country will be able to visit a total of eight solar-powered energy stations, so called “WE!Hubs”, where they will have access to environmentally friendly lighting, computers and clean drinking water. Three similar hubs already exist, and the first station of the expansion phase was inaugurated on Monday in Honge at Lake Victoria. “The expansion underlines the acceptance of our innovative approach for regions in which people don’t have access to the power grid. The project combines social engagement, environmental consciousness and economic viability in a unique way,” said Peter Laier, Managing Board member responsible for technology at OSRAM Licht AG.


The project is now being expanded by another five to a total of eight energy stations. Four of them are also located at Lake Victoria, a further one is located inland on a tea plantation in Kericho. At these “Water-Energy-Hubs” (WE!Hubs), residents can rent battery-powered luminaires and LED lanterns for a modest fee. Additionally, they can also obtain purified drinking water, surf the Internet or attend training and mentoring programs on entrepreneurship. The aim of these professional trainings is to help young Kenyan people to develop economic and social prospects for themselves.


For many years now, Global Nature Fund (GNF) has worked with various partner organisations in different countries on solutions to replace the widely used kerosene lamps that are a risk to the environment as well as the health of the people, with user friendly solar lamps. Against the background of a successful pilot project realised at Lake Victoria in Kenya by the Germany based company OSRAM and supported by Global Nature Fund, the European Union has approved a project application for the installation of five new and innovative so called "Water-Energy Hubs" (WE!Hubs). The project will be realised in Kenya and receives a grant in the framework of the ACP-EU Energy Facility. In addition to the three pilot "Hubs" these new solar stations are meant to provide renewable energy services to people in remote parts of Kenya without a reliable grid or with no electricity infrastructure at all.



A central objective of the project is to provide clean and environmentally friendly generated electrical energy and drinking water to people in areas with an insufficient infrastructure. Astonishingly, the solar powered lamps are not only cleaner and safer, but even cheaper for the people in Kenya than the commonly used kerosene lanterns. Another advantage of the innovative project is that the user does not have to buy the lamp, but will rent the whole system for a small deposit. The price of kerosene has risen dramatically over the recent years. But the solar lamps do not only help save money; they also help to protect the environment and the climate, offer new income opportunities and possibilities for education. Furthermore the solar lamps avoid health risks from fume inhalation and skin contamination as well as fires. Beyond access to electricity and water, the project partners want to strengthen local entrepreneurship and create income and employment opportunities.



The WE!Hubs provide lamps, batteries and charging stations for mobile phones. The latter are doubly important because mobile phones have in the last few years taken on a crucial role in all banking transactions in rural Kenya (Mpesa system). Furthermore, the Hubs will provide clean drinking water to fight water borne diseases. The energy saving lamps will be used with batteries charged in an environmentally friendly way using solar power. The lamps will be used predominantly in lake fishing, household lighting and small shops. The Hubs are also equipped with a water purification system to allow the supply of clean water, which also helps make the most of the solar energy during peak times. Internet cafes that give the local population access to communications are also planned. Three of the five planned Hubs will be built at Lake Victoria, the other two closer to Nairobi.


Activities in 2011

The project officially started in July 2011. The project partners and the donors visited the existing Hubs as well as sites for the new buildings. While the new WE!Hubs are being built, the three existing solar stations in Mbita, Sindo and Nyandiwa will be renovated and equipped with modern battery and light technology.



The new project will run for three years. In addition to the EU Delegation to Kenya, the project will be supported by the Siemens Stiftung, which is committed to social entrepreneurship and the provision of basic water and energy services. OSRAM will continue accompanying the project as a technology partner in a supportive and advisory capacity. The technical implementation of the project lies in the hands of two Kenyan companies, Thames Electricals Ltd. and its subsidiary Light for Life Ltd. GNF will be coordinating the venture. The project is realized through a social business approach. That means that all revenues will be reinvested in the project. But a social enterprise is not only limited to the reinvestment of profits. The support of other new social projects to improve the local living conditions around the core business is an integrative part of the approach. The Siemens Stiftung will support these developments to promote more entrepreneurs and push potential projects in the fields of education, culture and basic services.

 Handbook “Solar Energy for Rural Kenya: WE!Hub – Water-Energy Hubs“
 Further information in English is avaiable on the separate project Webpage.
 Energy Hub in Honge at Lake Victoria
 Information sign on the way to Honge
 WE! Hub in Honge at Lake Victoria - Dedication in March 2014
 WE! Hub in Honge at Lake Victoria
 WE! Hub in Sori, Kenya
 WE! Hub in Sori, Kenya
 Water Scarcity in Kenya
 Logo GNF
 Logo Osram
 Logo Light for Life
 Logo Thames Electricals Ltd.



The project is financially supported by the EU in the framework of the EuropeAid Energy Facilty Programme. A second suporter is the Siemens Stiftung.

 EU ACP EuropeAid Energy Facility
 Siemens Stiftung

EU EuropeAid ACP Energy Facility

"Energy Facility" is a funding instrument of the European Commission launched in 2005. The programme supports projects developing efficient solutions and sustainable strategies for parts of society in rural regions of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific Region (ACP). More information can be found at:

Siemens Stiftung

The Siemens Stiftung is a charitable organisation founded in 2008. The foundation supports projects to empower civil society in particular in Africa, Latin America and Germany/Europe. The objective is to contribute to the sustainable alleviation of poverty and improve education. More informationen at:


Official Project Titel:


Project Duration: 



Project Country:





Project Partners:

Solar Energy for Rural Kenya


July 2011 – December 2014

Follow-up phase: January 2015 - August 2017




EU EuropeAid ACP Energy Facility (until 2014), Siemens Foundation


Osram, Thames Electricals Ltd. Kenya, Light for Life Kenya