Access to affordable, modern energy services is a prerequisite to sustainable development and poverty alleviation and more specifically, for achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs). Nguruman and Isinya Maarifa centres in Kajiado County initiated a community green energy conservation project in 2011 involving 21 farmers. The project involved recycling cow-dung to generate biogas for cooking and lighting given that communities rely mainly on firewood and paraffin. Through a participatory approach, ALIN carried out a rapid assessment among pastoral farmers to gauge their interest in piloting tubular biogas systems as an approach to mitigate climate change and to promote sustainable access to clean cooking energy resources. A four days training was undertaken where farmers practically installed the bio-digesters as they learned the new skills.
To install a tubular biogas system, you need a heavy-duty silage plastic tube measuring 10 metres long by 3.2 metres, two PVC tubes, PVC pipes, gate valves, sockets, nipples and flexible tube for connecting to the specially fabricated biogas burner, two hundred litres of cow-dung and 200 litres of water.
All these materials costs Kenya shillings five thousand making it a very affordable system for the farmers. In addition, each farmer needs a steady supply of fresh cow-dung that is mixed with water for feeding in the bio-digester. After installation the system takes 5 to 7 days to start gas production.
Tubular biogas technology is affordable and has many benefits that include;
- Avail clean and efficient energy for cooking food and lighting at night replacing the use of firewood to cook and paraffin for lighting.
- Reduce children and women’s vulnerability to respiratory diseases and eye irritations caused by smoke and other harmful particulates.
- Reduce children and women’s workload in fetching fuel wood.
- Reduce deforestation caused because of fetching firewood and burning charcoal.
- Improve general sanitation and good management of livestock waste
- Reduce carbon emissions that cause global warming.
- Contributes towards increased productivity at family level.
- Enhances food security since the slurry from the digester is a good organic fertilizer.
Mama Lucy Ndung’u of Nguruman is a business lady who runs a hotel at Endasopia market and testified as follows;
‘’Since ALIN trained us on production of biogas technology through the Nguruman Maarifa centre in March 2011, my family activities have changed. I have reduced firewood consumption and the money (USD 40 monthly) I used for buying firewood; I am saving for family projects. I am also able to serve my customers with clean food cooked from a smoke free environment. Before I started using biogas, I was having recurring chest congestion but this problem has ceased and I can attribute this to using biogas since its smokeless! I have always been worried when I see changing rain patterns. I now feel good to be a key player in mitigating climate change’’.
The adoption of tubular biogas technology is sustainable given the technology is affordable and the trained farmers are motivated to transfer the technology at a small fee therefore earning some income. The availability of abundant cow dung, goats and chicken droppings in the area has enhanced the adoption of the technology among the community.
For more testimonies http://isinyamaarifa.blogspot.com/2011/02/isinya-maarifa-center-now-running-mpesa.html and http://ngurumanmaarifa.blogspot.com/2011/05/free-cooking-gas-for-nguruman-community.html.
A video is available https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtXXZDiYBZs
Tubular Biogas technology installation at Nguruman.