Kenya’s new effort to devolve responsibility for energy planning to the county level, which is still taking shape, provides a timely opportunity to support county governments in developing a framework for ensuring meaningful citizen participation in energy planning. This can only be achieved, however, if concerted efforts are made to ensure wide, deep and meaningful participation.

Before county governments can start to plan, energy consumption patterns in the county must be understood. This will inform the planning process and ensure that the most pertinent issues are being addressed. In Migori County, survey data show that dependence on kerosene for lighting and on fuelwood for cooking are the most pressing issues for households.

Citizens are willing and eager to engage in energy planning, and there are many existing avenues for engaging with them, which could reduce the cost and effort required. For example, existing women’s and youth groups have experience educating their peers, building capacity and organizing activities/ events to effect change.