Author Archives: Environmental Journalist

Africa Announces 300GW Renewable Energy Intiative

IMG_8803By Sophie Mbugua: PARIS, Dec 02: African heads of state announced plans for a gigantic renewable energy initiative that would provide as much as 300gigawatts of renewable energy – twice the continent’s total current electricity supply – by 2030.

African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) driven by African countries announced at the start of the two-week United Nations climate negotiations in Paris, aims to achieve 10gigawatts of new renewable energy by 2020 and mobilize the potential to generate 300gigawatts by 2030.

“African countries have abundant renewable energy resources. This initiative can transform Africa’s energy systems, grow African economies and help improve energy access. Now this will power our future.” says Asrat Yirgu, WWF Africa’s Climate Change Coordinator


A solar panel powering a borehole in Turkana, Northern Kenya.

This initiative represents Africa’s contribution to the global efforts on climate change and eliminating energy poverty. It will also help African nations embrace low-carbon development strategies while creating jobs, improving energy security and bringing clean, safe and affordable energy to the 640 million Africans who currently lack access to electricity. Read more

New $500 million Mitigation Initiative Unveiled

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and Vice Presdient and Special Envoy for Climate Change  Rachel Kyte speak with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

By Sophie Mbugua: Paris: As nations of the world gathered on Monday in Paris to reach a new and universal climate change agreement, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland has announced a new $500 million initiative that will find new ways to create incentives aimed at large scale cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries to combat climate change.

The initiative developed through the World Bank Group will measure and pay for emission cuts in large scale programs in renewable energy, transport, energy efficiency, solid waste management, and low carbon cities. Read more


By Sophie Mbugua

Wahabou Benao demonstrate how he controls water at his farm in Vrassan village southern Burkina Faso

Wahabou Benao demonstrate how he controls water at his farm in Vrassan village southern Burkina Faso

Vrassan (Burkina Faso) Wahabou Benao, a small scale farmer at Vrassan village 160 kilometers south of Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou, says for the longest time they had always received 6 months of reliable and consistent rainfall between May and October.

But over the last 15 years, the amount of rainfall has been gradually reducing and its distribution uneven affecting production of sorghum, Okra and Shea butter

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), over 60% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa depends on agriculture for their livelihood. But inconsistent weather coupled with soil infertility is affecting livelihood of the majority of the population in the region.

While water stress occurs throughout the world, sub Saharan Africa and the Sahel belt has been more afflicted with subsistence farmers having to adapt to new technologies to sustainably grow food.

We receive rainfall once a year from May to October the water dams dry before the next season start” explains Benao “I am using water bottles to farm to conserve the little water I have left in his well” Read more

Improving data collection in Africa key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Jacqueline Photo 1

Jacqueline Musiitwa, Zambian-based champion for the Accur8Africa initiative

Numbers are important in determining where Africa is on the development process and where it wants to go. There is rich data on the continent, but it exists in an even and disorganized manner.

Accessing data from the government institution, discrepancies between international organization and governmental data makes its hard to ensure that data used for developmental planning is appropriate.

Data champions’ from five African countries are taking up the challenge of improving data collection across the continent to enhance progress under the Sustainable Development Goals.

Much of Data in Africa is manually stored

Much of Data in Africa is manually stored

Accur8Africa brings together data scientists from Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal and Zambia, to improve accuracy, accountability and accessibility to data.

Listen to the podcast African data champions take up SDG challenge

Trees and Climate Resilience in Burkina Faso

Diasso Dialia waters tree seedlings at the Nezeledoum reesouce centre

Diasso Dialia waters tree seedlings at the Nezeledouan resource center

Women at Ziro province, 160 km south of the Burkina Faso capital Ouagadougou last year with support from international forest research bodies and Burkina Faso’s Institute for Environment and Agricultural Research (INERA) set up Nezeledoun resource centre where they are planting tree seedlings and growing vegetables in the thirst stricken area.

According to Catherine Dembele, an associate scientist with the World Agroforestry Centre, fruit and vegetables – like those grown at the resource centers as they provide micronutrients and vitamins lacking in many staple foods.


Niagnan Aissaha tends to her crops at the resource center

They are also more tolerant to climate extremes and have medicinal value for people and livestock, offering a potential source of income.

Who is Sophie?

Sophie is an Environmental Journalist based in Nairobi Kenya. She exclusively covers the environmental issues in Africa.

Over the years, her work has been published by the BBC, Mongabay, IRIN News, Deutsch Welle (DW), Mail&Guardian, AAAS science, Scidev.Net, Thomson Reuters Foundation, News Deeply, the Africa Report, Shout Africa, the Nation Media Group, and the Star Newspaper among other major media groups.


Sophie is a 2018 Climate Home News fellow, 2018 German-Southern Africa Journalist Program fellow, 2018 Forschungszentrum Jülich Pan-African Soil Challenge (PASCAL) Journalist Fellow. In 2015 she was a Climate Change fellow with the French Media for Cooperation (CFIMedia21). In 2016 Sophie was the Cross-Border reporting fellow in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda with the International Women Media Foundation (IWMF). She is also a 2016 Cohort 4 mentor at the YALI Regional Leadership Centre, East Africa. She holds a degree in communication.

Sophie has organised media activities for the African Group of Negotiations Chair during the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) and the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) in Marrakesh Morocco as a Communication Consultant.

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