The Global Environment Facility is a key supporter of the Kenyan Government on financing sustainable development in all its focal areas. Currently there are over 35 national projects, over 65 projects with a regional and global context, and several small grants programs to communities through Community Based Organizations and NGOs.
This portfolio has demonstrated, that if well streamlined, the GEF can support even more projects. Over the years, important lessons have been drawn that well-thought out concepts on sustainable development, environment, government partnerships in project execution, transparency and accountability, co-financing, joint monitoring and evaluation and increased GEF visibility ,all contribute significantly to the enhancing the impact of GEF projects and programs. There is now a National Treasury requirement that such projects and programs are captured as an important revenue stream into the country.
Kenya's energy sector provides one example of the transformative nature of GEF support. With only a US$ 979,000 GEF investment - to cover feasibility studies, training and the procurement of equipment, - the Kenya Electricity Generating Company Limited (KENGEN) sourced funding for geothermal development, the green energy option. The GEF funding was crucial as it covered the most risky part of geothermal development – prospecting, surface exploration and discovery drilling.
With the commissioning of the 280MW project in Olkaria on the edge of the Eastern Rift Valley, geothermal now accounts for more than half the electricity consumed by Kenyans , up from 11% in 2012. KENGEN is now a leader in the technology in the region, and is providing consultancy services on geothermal to Eastern, Southern and Western African countries.
The Small Grants Scheme, through UNDP has made significant changes to people, with a very important integration of conserving the environment and enhancing livelihoods. Osotua campsite, at the foot of the Aberdare range, is located at a border where two communities, the Maasai and Kikuyu live side by side: the area has witnessed resource use conflict in the past. The campsite is managed by young people from both communities to foster unity through community projects, dialogue and youth events and has such facilities as a conference hall and a shared dormitory. These facilities provide income for members and provide a serene environment for youth seminars and exchange programs. The beneficiaries have expressed their gratitude to the GEF for support that has gone a long way to promote peace and improve the livelihoods of young people from both communities.