Director, Demand, Jobs, and Livelihoods
Makena Ireri is an energy generalist with over a decade of experience in energy, energy access, and international development. With a strong foundation in engineering, Makena has dedicated her career to addressing energy challenges in both developed and developing contexts. Makena’s diverse work history includes four years in the UK Civil Nuclear Industry as a project engineer, focusing on energy supply. She later transitioned to the international development sector, where she has spent over six years working on energy access projects funded by organizations such as DFID, the World Bank, and IFC. Makena has managed a £6M research portfolio focused on home and productive use appliances for rural, off-grid contexts, filling gaps in technical, market, consumer, and impact data for off-grid appliance technologies.
As an expert in clean energy access, Makena has also supported social enterprises in Africa to develop growth strategies, refine business models, and become investor-ready. Her work has involved providing technical business advisory services, capital raising support, and executing bespoke client projects like pilot design, market surveys, and technical research. Makena has worked in various countries and has published numerous articles and reports on topics such as gender equality, inclusivity, and the role of appliances in stimulating demand towards universal energy access.
Before GEAPP she was the Director of Clean Energy Access Research at CLASP where she led and shaped research initiatives to accelerate the availability, affordability, and performance of off-grid home and productive use equipment. She is also a co-founder/ co-catalyst of Safe Energy Spaces, an initiative promoting equitable and inclusive workspaces in the energy access sector. Makena’s unique blend of engineering, research, and consulting expertise positions her as a knowledgeable and impactful leader in the energy and international development sectors.