The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has trained 113 young engineers, scientists and planners in the first phase of the $20.5M geothermal capacity building grant extended to GDC in 2013. The first phase has been running for the last 2 and half years.
“We at GDC are proud of JICA’s partnership in boosting the geothermal expertise of our young scientists and engineers” said Eng. Johnson P. Ole Nchoe, the GDC Managing Director & CEO while hosting a delegation of JICA representatives who had paid him a courtesy call at the Kawi Complex in South C.
JICA is helping bridge the geothermal expertise gap in the country. The JICA support runs for four years. The training program is a big shot in the arm for GDC; it has boosted the number of trained geothermal experts in drilling, exploration, steam field management, geothermal modeling and geothermal planning. Currently, Kenya has less than 20 active geothermal experts, which speaks to the huge need to build bigger capacity.
During a medium term review mission today, the JICA Deputy Director General & Group Director for Energy, Mr. Hiroyuki Kobayashi revealed that under that Phase I of the capacity building program JICA has already disbursed Kshs 38 Million (40.1 Million Yen). “We are very happy at the huge increase in knowledge and competence in the staff who have undergone this training” said Hiroyuki Kobayashi.
He noted that Phase two of the project will focus on sustainability through the training of trainers to ensure GDC’s staff can train their colleagues. Phase two of the training and capacity building program will continue for the next two years. The project started in 2013.
The JICA grant has enabled GDC to train staff within the country as opposed to sending them for extended training abroad which has in the past cost the company a substantial amount of money. Under this JICA capacity building program, GDC staff are trained on- the-job and only travel to Japan for short periods. This has helped GDC reduce the cost of training one staff by up to 80% considering that geothermal training abroad costs up to Kshs 10 million for a period of 6-months per person.
The purpose of the JICA project is to enhance human resources of GDC which contribute to technical risk mitigation in geothermal development. The first phase has offered training various aspects of the geothermal development value chain from exploration, to drilling, financial modelling and investment decision making.