Changemakers SES2017

By Helen Watts



These individuals span four continents, with four unique, inspiring and impactful stories of how they contribute to our sustainable energy future.


Manuel Wiechers (Mexico) sparked his passion at the 2009 Student Energy Summit, inspiring him to co-found the social enterprise ILUMEXICO building solar home systems in off grid areas. Manuel’s company has provided energy access to more than 10,000 people!

“My company was inspired directly at SES and we are a young team…[You] can make a living and have a huge impact at the same time.”

– Manuel Wiechers

Rebecca Watts (Australia) attended the Student Energy Summit in 2015, which inspired her to travel to rural Cambodia and initiate a solar energy project providing households and schools with clean, reliable, and affordable electricity. Rebecca is passionate about the role of youth as positive changemakers of our future.

“It is through working across continents and across borders that we collaboratively transition to a more sustainable energy future.”

– Rebecca Watts

At SES 2015 Kakembo Galabuzi Brian (Uganda) was inspired to start the Waste to Energy Youth Initiative (WEYI), rallying youth to transition East Africa from wood fuel to affordable fuel briquettes and bio-gas. Kakembo’s initiative has engaged over 200 young people providing energy for the 85% of Ugandans who cannot afford major clean energy sources

“Diversity in education, gender, language, location, origin, culture and nationality will be a very big advantage to any initiative. In my case, my finance background was helpful in sourcing and managing funds, but every colleague in the initiative plays a unique role”

– Kakembo Galabuzi Brian


After SES 2013 Vishal Gajjar (India) started gathering local solutions that successfully reduced fossil fuel consumption in his own country. By transitioning IOT technology in energy insecure countries in Africa, Vishal is helping telecommunication companies minimize their dependence on diesel, and building a green energy future.

“There is no age to create a mark in energy sector. One may need to be an expert to ‘develop the solution’ from scratch but one doesn’t need to be an expert to ‘find the solution’ in this well-connected world of technology.”

– Vishal Gajjar


Join the movement at SES 2017: