Harare (New Ziana) – As world leaders were preparing to head for the 27th Climate Change Conference in the Egyptian city of Sharm El Sheik, a Zimbabwean solar technologies company won a global award for offering smart energy solutions.
Zonful Energy, a Zimbabwean company was on November 2 voted the joint winner of the Ashden Award for Energy Access Skills together with Energy Generation from Togo at a glittering function held at the Royal Geographical Society in London, the United Kingdom.
It was the first time that a Zimbabwean company won the award.
The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy are annual awards which reward local sustainable energy projects in the UK and developing countries that protect the environment, and improve quality of life.
The recognition that Zonful Energy received was in line with the main theme of the Climate Change Conference or the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), more commonly referred to as COP27.
Zonful facilitates the provision of clean and affordable solar solutions to off-grid rural areas in Zimbabwe, complimented with unique skills on installation, maintenance, marketing, finance and entrepreneurial skills.
William Ponella, the founder and chief executive at Zonful Energy, said it was the right time for winning the award as it was in line with the main theme for the COP27.
COP27, which began on November 6 and ends on November 18, marks thirty years since the UNFCCC was adopted and seven years since the Paris Agreement was agreed at COP21. It is an annual event which brings together the governments, which have signed theUNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol or the Paris Agreement.
World leaders, Ministers and negotiators come together to agree on how to jointly address climate change and its impacts. Civil society, businesses, international organizations and the media “observe” proceedings to bring transparency, as well as broader perspectives, to the process.
Key focus of COP27 are the promise of innovation and clean technologies as wll as the centrality of water and agriculture to the climate crisis. The role of science is also being highlighted in addition to biodiversity loss, energy transition, decarbonisation efforts and finance.
“Our work has transformed lives in rural communities, improved education, created employment and empowered a lot of women and youths,” Ponella told New Ziana in an interview.
He said his company collaborates with local colleges and Non-Governmental Organisations in training students to install as well as repair solar equipment and assists them to find employment in the energy sector.
“We take students on attachments and graduates from all the major universities in the country. We train them to work as technicians, sales agents within the energy sector.”
Ponella said his company had so far trained and created employment for more than 2 000 people around the country.