chebet lesan

One Young World Profile profiles

Chebet Lesan

University of Nairobi

I am passionate about

As a young a social impact entrepreneur, I am passionate about life, people, and our environment. As a young girl, i loved nature, especially the travels to my rural village, to see grandma. Our arrival in the village was usually signaled by a thick dark smoke emerging from the chimney of grandmother’s cooking hut. A lovely traditional meal awaited us. To ensure that we were well fed, grandma cooked over an open fire for at least 5 hours every day. I rarely visited grandma in her cooking hut, as it was mere torture for my little nose, eyes, and chest. The dark thick smoke barely allowed for any vision, let alone breathing. I would innocently wonder how granny was so used to that smoky hut. At the time, i didn't know that grandma was one of over 650 million Africans who depended solely on biomass as a primary source of energy. She was one of the millions of African women who exposed their health to dangerous toxins daily, just to prepare a simple meal for the family.

When we think about the biggest killers of people living in the developing world, the kitchen does not often come up. Yet every year, indoor air pollution kills 4.3 million people in the world. This basic need to cook has dire consequences for poor families, climate change, disease and death. Furthermore, burning wood and charcoal is now responsible for more than half of all deforestation across sub-Saharan Africa. My realization that this challenge greatly affected not only my home, but the homes of millions of Africans, led me to found BrightGreen Renewable Energy in 2015. My vision was to use develop clean, safe and eco-friendly fuels for African homes and industries. It has been a challenging but life changing journey. Today BrightGreen has processed over 100 tonnes of recycled, clean cooking fuel and continues to improve the quality of lives for low income earning communities. We have been humbled to receive recognition for our work from former President Barack Obama and Her Majesty the Queen.


As BrightGreen Renewable Energy CEO, I manage company activities through a young empowered team. BrightGreen's key achievements include:

1.Addressing indoor air pollution: BrightGreen has produced and distributed over 100 tonnes of fuel briquettes directly impacting over 300 households.

2.Improving quality of lives and environment: Working with our local government, BrightGreen has collected over 120 tonnes of waste from Nairobi.

3.Fighting deforestation: BrightGreen’s eco-friendly fuel is replacing wood from trees as a source of energy. At the 100-tonne mark of eco-fuel briquettes, BrightGreen has saved over 800 tonnes of trees in Kenya forests.

4.Job creation: BrightGreen has trained and hired over 10 youth to work in its multi process production line.

5. Spreading impact: To create awareness, BrightGreen has formed key partnerships with local partners and government organizations including KEFRI, KWS, NACOSTI and YDF in development and exhibition of innovative products.

6.Promoting local innovation: All our machines are designed and fabricated by Kenya youth groups and are made from recycled metal. All raw materials are recyclables sourced from Kenya.

7.Promotion of clean cooking: BrightGreen is in early development stages of partnership with leading improved cookstoves suppliers in Kenya. Through collaboration of eco- friendly briquettes and cookstove suppliers, BrightGreen aims to maximize on a positive environmental impact

8.Regional Development: BrightGreen continues to forge partnerships with neighbouring countries including Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Congo Brazzaville to replicate waste to fuel business models and increase availability of green fuels in those areas..

9.International Intergration: BrightGreen has created internship opportunities for both local and international students including University of California Davis, MIT, Rutgers University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology