Representatives from the Kenyan cooling sector talk in a series of video interviews about their experiences with ‘Fit for Green Cooling’, a scheme for the qualification, certification and registration of RAC technicians, developed by GIZ.
In recent years, the high demand for cooling devices has meant that more and more RAC technicians were needed in Kenya. However, the country is facing a challenge: “So far as a country, we cannot actually be sure (…) how many refrigeration technicians have been assessed, certified and registered”, explains Javan Chiro, lecturer at the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) in Nairobi. Most of the workers come from the informal sector. They did not gain theoretical knowledge and practical skills through official training, but were given it by family, friends or acquaintances.
“They are somewhat skilled, some of them semi-skilled”, adds Marindany Kirui, coordinator of the National Ozone Unit. But the installation and maintenance of cooling units usually does not correspond to best practices or prescribed standards. Safety risks arise for the technician and the consumer. In addition, the improper installation or recycling leads to the leakage of harmful refrigerants, which often have a high GWP.
Quote NOU Kenya
"With the scheme, the obligations of the country to the international world will be taken care of."
Due to the requirements of the Kigali Amendment, more and more natural refrigerants will be used in the future. They cause zero ozone depletion and have very low to no global warming potential. However, some of them require specific training due to their higher risks, e.g. flammability. To adapt the latest environmentally-friendly technology, it is essential for countries to have a skilled workforce that is able to work with these substances.
'Fit for Green Cooling' (1/4): Why to qualify, certify & register the Kenyan RAC workforce?
Training improves living conditions
Training on the use of natural refrigerants can help improve technicians' health, their working conditions and secure their incomes. “If we have technicians that are qualified, they get employment, and thus it will improve their living conditions”, says Phyllis Kiplagat, who develops curricula for a variety of career paths at NITA.
'Fit for Green Cooling' (2/4): How does it work?
Fit for Green Cooling
Key elements in the successful transition to sustainable cooling technologies include the establishment of standards, an official training path, as well as the certification and registration of technicians country-wide. The different aspects enable countries to “get to know the capacity of RAC technicians and improve it”, explains John Keya, engineer at Frigoglass East Africa.
To that end, Proklima developed “Fit for Green Cooling”: a holistic approach which was created according to international standards but can be adapted to national contexts and integrated in country-specific structures. Its scope covers natural refrigerants and helps reduce direct and indirect emissions over the lifetime and disposal of RAC appliances by setting standards that are followed by a skilled workforce. It thereby supports countries directly in their efforts to phase down climate-damaging HFCs.
'Fit for Green Cooling' (3/4): What are the benefits?
To cover the qualification part, 14 training modules were developed, combining theoretical and practical training sessions. The training institute receives trainer manuals for conducting the course and the practical exercises, supplementary material including a handbook and power point presentations for each chapter, an overview on skills to assess, module handouts and assessment questions. “It’s exciting to see new things coming into the country – benefiting those people who are from the informal sector, bringing them into the formal sector”, stresses Phyllis Kiplagat.