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Community Engagement the Umande Way

For Umande Trust, community engagement and inclusion are central, at all stages of establishing and maintaining the bio-centres. It is crucial to be in constant communication with the local community members, the beneficiaries of the services provided, as well as receive relevant knowledge on the local environment and its challenges.

The community meeting

On November 15th, the Umande Trust staff participated in a community meeting, in order to explore the opinions, requests and concerns of the people living in the area of Lindi, Kibera, where the New Blue bio-centre will be constructed. The team, composed of Benazir, Lionel, Peter, Valerie, Solomon, Stella, Pepijn and Jackie arrived on the future site of the bio-centre, and the local community immediately started to gather around, to listen and participate in the meeting. The team was introduced by the owner of the land, who donated it to the youth group leading the process and will operate the facility once in place. Lionel then started engaging with the community, gathering their input on the current situation. Women described the current sanitation arrangement (pit latrine) as dirty, precarious, unsafe and unhygienic; children highlighted its smell and the risk of falling in; men mentioned the fact that it is only convenient to use the toilet early in the morning and late at night due to their lack of privacy and that there are no other decent sanitation facilities nearby. 

Lionel explaining the project

After having verified the sanitation condition of the area, Lionel, continued with the description of the project, explaining who the donors and the group behind the project were, who the subcontractors for the building of the facility will be, mentioning the possibility of some being hired as builders, given the great interest residents demonstrated to be included on the process. He also showed the plan for the completed facility, for people to have an idea of the final state, and to stimulate discussion on the potential use of the first floor (suggestions were made for a playing space for kids). The residents were highly engaged and participated throughout the whole duration of the meeting, and made several requests and remarks, in order for the project to meet their needs and expectations. Furthermore, during the meeting it became clear that the community appears to be more focused on the sanitation aspect of the facility rather than the biogas element. This is a challenge that can also be seen in existing bio-centres in Kibera: people tend to not make use of the public cooking facilities, since they prefer not to cook their meals in the same space as the bathrooms; a design consideration for future facilities. Umande Trust strongly encourages the group to actively engage in the process, rather than solely host them in the project, and thus it is of great importance that the group has the opportunity to vocalize their ideas, thoughts, and needs. It is also essential that the group gets trained and taught on sanitation management in order for the biocentre to have a lasting impact on the community. Job creation, skill development and good governance are therefore paramount.

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The Well-Oiled Machine of Jasho Letu

The Well-Oiled Machine of Jasho Letu

One of the founding organizations of Umande’s very first biocentre, TOSHA I, Jasho Letu has continued to find success over the last 12 years. Located in Katwekera Sarang’ombe, the group has made ample use of the space and resources near their biocentre. 

Picture from top of Jasho Letu

From the outside, the Jasho Letu Biocentre looks very similar to many others. It has a ground floor with numerous toilets and bathrooms and an upstairs section for meetings and church gatherings each week. The caretaker will greet you outside the center as you come to use the toilet, bathroom, or collect water for the day. However, once given an opportunity to learn more about the centre and its operations, you learn it is more than it first appears. 

Each week, the members of the group meet on Friday around noon to discuss developments, earnings, and next steps for the group. With over 100 group members, the discussions tend to last many hours, but each member is able to walk away knowing the next steps for the biocentre and the group as a whole. This large group has managed to make quite the impact on their community. Beyond contributing to TOSHA I and the establishment of their own Jasho Letu Biocentre, the group has found numerous routes for earning. In the area immediately surrounding the Jasho Letu Biocentre are numerous houses that were built by the group. These houses are now rented out to community members and a smaller community has formed within this small compound. 

Social hall at Jasho Letu Center

The area would be incomplete without the duka, or shop, located just next door. This structure was also built by the members of the Jasho Letu Group and is rented to a duka in order to provide goods to the community members. But, that’s not where the connection ends. The biogas produced from the Biocentre is piped over to the duka so they can provide a kiosk for hot water vending. 

Their impact also reaches beyond the immediate area. A few minutes’ walk away, the group has set up a water kiosk to provide a closer point of water collection for community members. Numerous kiosks are spread around the area to decrease the amount of time people have to spend walking to a water vendor. Additionally, the group recently purchased land to assist in their housing development plan. They are currently working with the City and County Governments in order to build more houses and apartments to relieve the strain that parts of Kibera are beginning to feel. 

Jasho Letu embodies a big component of the Biocentre mindset. They have found ways to continuously expand and develop their community through the benefits gained with the Biocentre. Not only have they assisted in promoting water sanitation, but they have made a considerable impact on the greater community surrounding their center.  

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Why Umande Trust Biocentres Have Succeeded Where Others Have Failed:

During the morning of my first Tuesday as an intern at Umande, I embarked on my first field visit of the semester. My guide and co-worker Joseph met me at the office bright and early to show me around Kibera, numerous biocentres, and introduce me to the people making everything run smoothly. Our first stop was the office itself. Umande Trust’s headquarters are situated on the two floors above one of its biocentres. Situated near the edge of Kibera, the biocentre caters to Umande’s employees, as well as other organizations situated along the same footpath.

We set out on our tour and little did I know how extensive it would be. We began at Tosha II, the first of three biocentres under the larger umbrella of the Tosha community organization. Once we arrived, Joseph introduced me to one of the caretakers for the Tosha II center, who was filling in for her friend who normally took care of the center while she was away running errands.The ground floor of the Tosha II center houses the toilets and bathrooms for people to use at the price of 5 shillings per toilet use and 10 shillings for the bathroom. The upstairs is designed for numerous people to live, with many of the 6 rooms currently occupied. In one corner there was a biogas stove community members could pay to cook meals on. This biocentres was not simply a place to use the toilet; it was a home and a gathering place for many families.Next, we moved on to the Muvi Community biocentre. This was the second of three in the Tosha family. Here I met one of the caretakers, who had just finished cleaning the floors. At each place, Joseph made sure to emphasize how much each caretaker valued and loved the biocentre they managed. As Joseph and I wandered the biocentre, two young boys came to show us around. The ground floor consisted of the same toilets and bathroom setups, but the upstairs was different. It had been established as a local meeting place, with church services and football match showings taking up the majority of time. Otherwise, the space could be rented for a small fee to area organizations. Once we departed Muvi, Joseph offered to show me his home and to meet a few of his family members. Diverting only briefly from the path, we turned into a row of homes and we soon entered his house. We sat only briefly, to rest our feet and for me to meet his family. This was when I started to realize the beauty and significance of Umande and the work that it was doing. Joseph lived very close to two of the biocentres, Muvi and Tosha I. He had a strong interest in ensuring their success, because their success meant greater benefits to him and his family. Soon after leaving his home, we passed a public pit latrine that was run down and abandoned. He began to tell me the story behind it; numerous government funded contractors had built the pit latrine many years back, with the intention of handing it over to the community when it was completed. However, following the completion of the building, the public pit latrine was open to public use, with no managing organization to oversee its success. Without anyone to take care of and manage the facility, it quickly became unusable. Then, we passed by a private toilet and bathroom structure. Joseph began to explain that the structure had been built by a group of individuals for their own personal toilets and bathrooms. Other individuals could use the toilets, however, the cost was high and all benefitted the owners.After walking a while longer, we reached Tosha I. This was the first biocentre built by Umande Trust and one of the largest. Outside the entrance, a large sign notified passersby of the Champion League football match being shown at the center that night. Again we met the caretaker of the center who encouraged us to take a look around the biocentre. In one of the central rooms of the center, a pot of water was boiling on the biogas burner for someone to use to cook. After surveying the toilet and bathroom setup, we ventured upstairs. On the first of two upstairs floors, an office was being rented out by a local organization focused on education and sports. Then, one floor above that, a large gathering space had been established. Designed for community meetings, church services, and viewings of football matches, the chairs were currently stacked in the corner, and the televisions were hidden behind wooden boards. Multiple signs were posted advertising the prices of sodas. Joseph led me to one of the windows. He pointed out to the different sewage pipes and open streams, as well as tracing the path we had taken to get to the numerous biocentres. He then pointed to a school across the street and explained how this biocentre also provided services to all of the children who attended that school. It was a part of the community and we watched many people enter and exit the biocentre. He also began to talk about how much he enjoyed interacting and talking to everyone in the community who managed or visited the biocentres he frequented.From Tosha I, Joseph and I traveled to a biocentre that operated outside of the Tosha I umbrella organization. We arrived at KID-YOT, a center managed by an organization that hoped to provide young men and boys in the area with opportunities to success. I met Japheth, one of the directors of the organization and the center, who was very eager to show me around. Beyond the normal toilet and bathroom layout on the ground floor, there was a large tank of water heating over a biogas burner for people to use for warm showers. From there, we travelled upstairs. Japheth told me about how he had worked and helped manage the biocentre since it was first built in 2007. He explained how the center had been a big part of his life growing up and he hoped to continue to help others in his community. On the second floor, there was a very large meeting space designed for church gatherings and other community meetings. Next to this space, they had added a room to establish loans and savings plans for members of the community. Additionally, this part of the center was a place for job opportunities and employment both inside and outside Kibera. Japheth began to lead me upstairs as he explained how the biocentre had begun as only the ground and first floors. However, the members of the Kid-Yot organization recognized the need for another floor and had decided to build the addition to meet their needs. This additional floor had opened up more space for community and social events, specifically, teaching classes on the environment and sanitation as well as watching football matches.Down below, Japheth showed me one of the newest projects they were working on. They had designed new houses that cost 1000 shillings per large room to build. These special structures were not made of tin like the majority of homes in Kibera. Instead, they were made of a more natural and fire resistant material to reduce fires. Finally, Japheth began to explain the bodaboda program they had begun to implement. Essentially, local men could sign a contract with the center and as part of the deal, they would borrow a bike from the center to use for business. Then, after one year of riding, they would be given the motorbike to own. As Japheth explained the reasoning behind it, it was very clear that he had put a lot of thought and effort into this plan, in order to provide a means for local men to earn a living. After departing from Kid-Yot, we went to the last biocentre of the day, the Nyaharwa Savers biocentre. Once we arrived, we met two of the caretakers, Susan and Nicole. Inside, they were boiling water for lunch on the biogas stove and heating water for showers in the corner with the electricity they had. The stairs leading up had been blocked off, as the center had realized that the meetings that took place upstairs sometimes ran later than the women were able to stay at the biocentre. So, in order to continue to allow the meetings to take place, they simply moved the stairs outside. We left, headed back towards the Umande headquarters, as Joseph told me about how much the biocentres had meant to him. He explained how after construction, Umande primarily takes a backseat on the management of the biocentres and allows the community organizations to run and operate the biocentres.The emphasis on the community has been at the heart of the success of the biocentres built by Umande in Kibera and other parts of Kenya. Umande Trust itself is primarily run and staffed by people who live in Kibera, or spend a large amount of time in Kibera. By handing the biocentres over to the community organizations, it gives them ownership; this ownership ensures the success rests with the people who use and care for the biocentres. Finally, by establishing the biocentres as a part of the community, and more than just a toilet or a bathroom, it guarantees the long-term success of these projects.

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Beating Climate Change The Smart Way

Mitigating climate change using briquettes the umande Story.

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Less Wood & More Biogas @ Ngaru Girls High School

On March 9th, Umande was able to send representatives to the Ngaru Girls High School in Kerugoya, an all girls boarding school a little over two hours from Nairobi. The facilities here (a bio-digester 84m3, renovated 20 toilets, biogas piping and burners) were built last fall and opened for use since November 2016. As one of the several boarding schools utilizing the bio-centers they were pleased to see the facilities up and running efficiently. Mikayla, our new intern, and Gladys, our sanitation marketer, were able to tour the property and meet with two kitchen staff members, Muthi and Mwaii, the school nurse, Pascaline, and a member of the cleaning staff, Margaret. The Umande Team were impressed with the overall cleanliness of the toilets and the kitchen and the excellent conditions the infrastructure installed by the organization were in. Through an open conversation with the staff members they were able to gather information on the success and the possible future improvements of the bio-sanitation model. While Margaret reported initial difficulties with the students using the toilets correctly, she says after several reminders the girls have been utilizing the toilets properly with no issues whatsoever. Muthii and Mwaii both were overjoyed to report that the biogas has been a tremendous help and now they are able to cook all the staff meals using it. However, the biogas cannot yet be used to cook the students’ meals because the biogas burners are not large enough to thoroughly cook the large cooking pots the students’ food is prepared in. Despite this, the biogas project (from human waste) has enabled the school to use less firewood for cooking which helps the environment and decreases smoke inhalation for the staff as well. Overall, the staffs had little to no complaints and were grateful for our visit and overall help with the project.

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A Day for Women is a Day for Everyone

On March 8th women, men, and non-binary people all across the globe came together to celebrate, and to declare actions that can truly drive greater change for women.

The rights of girls and women all over the world are violated every day. For years, female genital mutilation, an inhumane practice that violates the rights of most children and has no health benefits, has persisted. It is still occurring in 30 African countries and a handful of countries in the Middle East and Asia (“Female”). In Kenya the practice is still prevalent as 27% of women aged 15 – 49 years have undergone FGM (“Female”).

Around the world 61 million girls remain out of primary and lower- secondary school (Girl’s education”). In Kenya only 42% of girls are enrolled in lower-secondary school and in the north east 55% of girls living in poverty have never been to any form of school (“United”). Education is more than just literacy – it’s the key to economic success and healthier lives. Educated girls grow up to be educated women who are more likely to be healthy and economically secure compared to uneducated girls. Not only that, but educated girls grow up to be educated mothers who are more likely to invest in their children’s education, more likely to be and have healthy children, and more likely to be able to financially support their children (“Factsheet”).

Global averages show women account for less than 22% of parliaments. Statistics show women do nearly 2 ½ times more unpaid and domestic work than men, yet are less likely to receive a pension (Sifferlin). Women still earn 24% less than what a man earns, and only 50% of women at working wage are in the labor force compared to 77% of men (“Infographics”).

In summation girls and women across the world are not receiving the health, education, and representation that they deserve. We as a global community have a lot of work to do to make our dreams a reality.

How do we do it though? What are our next steps?

While there are hundreds of actions a person can take to help work toward equality, several overarching actions, have been globally targeted by international organizations like the UN and the World Bank. These actions call the world to elect more women to office, to grant women the property rights they deserve, to placing education before child marriage, to stand up against violence, and to fight for equal pay for equal work.

To make these goals become realities the international community, the governments, the private sectors, and civil society groups must all work together. Tactics like campaigning, petitioning, rallying, micro funding, and are great ways to become involved and stay involved in the global equality conversation.

When women succeed, everyone from the family, to the community, to the country succeeds.

No matter what though we must continue to campaign for women, we must stand up against outdated cultural norms, and we must provide one another with emotional and intellectual support. March 8th honored the women who first paved the road towards equality for us: the entrepreneurs, the scientists, the artists, the doctors, the writers, the politicians, the activists, and countless others. We will remember them, we will admire them, and we will strive to be more like them.

The importance of women cannot be understated, and now more than ever must we join together as champions for one another. On March 8th we celebrated, and we declared what we can do to make a difference in our communities, and then, we shall act. We will hashtag, we will rally, we will write and share our opinions, we will contact our representatives, we will engage one another in honest conversations to tackle the stigmas, barriers, and emotions that gender inequality has burdened us with.

So join us and women around the world to speak out, celebrate, and support one another. Use the hashtag #BeBoldForChange on your social media platforms like twitter, facebook, and Instagram. Together, we can achieve a gender inclusive world.

For more information and ways to get involved check out the links below, including the link to the official website for International Women’s Day.
https://www.internationalwomensday.com/
http://www.un.org/en/events/womensday/

Written by Mikayla Pellerin

 

Sources:

“Factsheet Girl’s Education and Gender Equality.”Global Partnership for Girls Education . N.p., 2016. Web. 7 Mar. 2017.

“Female genital mutilation.” World Health Organization. World Health Organization, Feb. 2017. Web. 07 Mar. 2017.

“Girls’ education and gender equality.” Global Partnership for Education. N.p., 2016. Web. 07 Mar. 2017.

“Infographics.” Global Gender Gap Report 2016. N.p., 2016. Web. 07 Mar. 2017

Sifferlin, Alexandra. “U.N. Women Report: Women Still Lag Behind on Wages and Careers.” Time. Time, 27 Apr. 2015. Web. 07 Mar. 2017.

“UNITED NATIONS GIRLS EDUCATION INITIATIVE” UNGEI. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2017

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KIBAGARE HAKI ZETU BIO-CENTRE : A TRANSFORMATION STORY

pic 1A step at a time always brings us closer to achieving a desired goal. The residents of Kibagare village in westlands constituency of Nairobi have long come to trust this expression. Kibagare is a peri-urban area with a population of around 15000 people and approximately 3000 households (westlands constituency website).  The settlement was established in 1972 by coffee plantation workers who worked in the colonial farms now known as Loresho estate. As at now most of the village residents are informal workers working as small scale traders and domestic labourers, whereas fewer than 10% of the residents are in fulltime employment.

The Kibagare Haki Zetu Savings and Peoples Settlement CBO was established in 2006 and consisted of around 350 members. It started as a self-help group trying to rally together the people of Kibagare to protest against forceful evictions and the group members also saved money in the group. Organisations such as Umande Trust, Haki Jamii, Shelter Forum and Muungano wa Wanavijiji have partnered with the Kibagare Haki Zetu CBO and have initiated several projects and initiatives in Kibagare which have transformed the village for the better.

The Kibagare Bio-centrepic 3

The Kibagare CBO is a well known group in the Kibagare area, and through the partnership of Umande Trust the CBO was able to build a bio-center in 2011.  The bio-center has an average of 400 users per day with sales of approxiamately ksh 1500-ksh 2500 per day. As at now the group membership stands at 48 with around 60% of the membership being women. Apart from the bio-centre the CBO also partnered with the Danish embassy, through the facilitation of Umande Trust, and built community ablution blocks as well as a bio-dome. The construction of the bio-dome solved most of the exhaustion and over flow problems experienced in the area as most of the pit latrines in the area are connected to the bio-dome. The bio-centre also provides majority of the residents with clean water as the plots do not have piped water. The bio-centre has an advantage over other water kiosks as they sell their water at ksh 3 whereas most of the kiosks sell at ksh 5. The bio-centre also produces biogas which is mostly used for boiling bathing water. The group members also sometimes use it for cooking meals.

The situation before the construction of the bio-centre and ablution blocks in the area was very wanting. Statistics from the westlands constituency website show that approxiamately around 938 people shared one toilet in the area as there were an estimated 16 toilets only in Kibagare and no bathrooms. This led to high numbers of open defeacation and flying toilets in the area leading to a very unhealthy environment. The construction of the bio-centre has been of great help to the people of Kibagare shining new hope in their lives. The neighbourhood has now improved immensely with almost zero open defeacation and its aesthetic value is slowly being restored.

The Kibagare Haki Zetu Savings and Peoples Settlement CBO has had a number of accomplishments over the years as a result (either directly or indirectly) of the bio-centre project, namely:

  • The construction of the bio-center(2011)
  • Construction of latrines around the neighborhood (since 2010)
  • Installation of solar panels into the bio-center (2013)
  • Construction of rental houses (four in number, each earning them Ksh 2,500 every month) (2015)
  • Construction of bio-dome in which all the waste from the bio-center and latrines are directed (2010)
  • Formation of a savings and credit cooperative (Sacco) with the aim of increasing members’ financial potential (2014). They intend to purchase an acre of land from the money saved.
  • Hire out the four rooms above bio-centre (support toilets) at 4000 each to a clinic (since 2014 to July 2016)

The Kibagare Haki Zetu Savings and Peoples Settlement CBO has had profound effects on the members who stuck on and chose to see through the results of their hard work and sacrifice. The members can now boast of dividends of at least ksh 10000 each and counting, thus giving them something to fall back on when they decide to leave the group. Talking to the current vice chair, Lucy Maina, I got to learn that it has taken much patience and initiative to come this far. Their main principle is that they do not carry any ‘dead weight’ and strive to make sure that all the members are active and well informed of all that is going on in the group. This explains the massive reduction of numbers in the group over the years. They started out as a self-help group, gradually moved to the position of a CBO, pic 2and are now registered as a Sacco. Lucy said that to her she feels that they have only made a small dent in a mile long trek towards success and gainful change.

The Kibagare Haki Zetu bio-centre has brought the Kibagare village much sought after change and the group managing the bio-centre can be termed as the savior of Kibagare village bringing them much needed sanitation
services and making the people proactive in issues affecting them. For a people who are mostly self-employed or live on minimum wages the group has changed their lives and if they are able to successfully purchase the land, through the savings in the Sacco it will yet another step taken towards leaving poverty and instability behind.

 

Written by; Abigail Omira

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Kibera in search of peace

Leaders from various sectors in Kibera gathered  at The  AIC church olympic  kibera on the  29th  of June 2016    to promote and champion the peace process ,This peace forum  was organized through a  collaborative effort of  different organizations operating in kibera which included Umande Trust, Octopizzo Foundation, Carolina for kibera,  Shofco, Hodiafrica, Map kibera trust, Change mtaani, Human needs project, Amani  Kibera, Women for peace Network, Forum43, women for peace network, National cohesion and intergration commission and District peace committee which collaborated  together to champion the peace project.

The event was just a first step towards enhancing livelihood and sustaining a peaceful environment within Kibera.

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From human waste to community space

Tosha PictureOn an overcast morning in Nairobi, commuter buses drive down a crumbling road into Kibera, a densely packed slum. A sign at the bus station reads “public toilets,” but the doors are locked.

It’s estimated that Kibera has just one toilet for every 2,500 of its approximately 250,000 residents. Without toilets to relieve themselves, people “use any means, whether it’s a [plastic] bag or a can,” explained Fred Amuok, Community Liaison for a Kenyan rights-based organization called Umande Trust. Most do so under cover of darkness, then simply toss the waste aside.

The World Health Organization estimates that 1.5 million people die every year from diarrhea, often the result of poor sanitation. There’s also a financial cost: studies show that Kenya loses US$324 million each year in missed work hours due to sickness brought on by poor sanitation. According to the sanitation company Sanergy, four million tonnes of fecal sludge escape into Kenya’s waterways and fields every year.

Nairobi’s municipal government has been unable to ease Kibera’s sanitation crisis. Amuok walked past a new bathroom built by the local government, only to find that it was also locked. “The government created the structures, but there was no management system in place,” he explained.

Only recently did the authorities even begin putting in sewer lines. It’s a slow process that could take years, if it’s ever completed at all.

Umande Trust isn’t waiting. The organization has come up with an innovative approach to providing affordable toilets for Kibera’s residents and turning human waste into cooking fuel. In 2007, it inaugurated the Katwekera Tosha BioCentre, a three-story, round concrete building. The first floor has a dozen toilets and showers that people pay 5 shillings ($0.05) each to use. The second floor has a small kitchen where people pay 10 shillings to cook food.

“Down here we have the bio-digester,” Amuok said, pointing beneath the building. “All the human waste goes in there.” Without oxygen, bacteria found naturally in poop thrive, creating methane and carbon dioxide in a mixture known as biogas, which fuels the stove two floors above.

Some 1,000 people use the toilets each day, and the center employs two women to collect fees and keep the place clean. One is Winnie Achieng, a 31-year-old single mother. Each day she keeps a ledger of the money she collects, along with the expenses—namely toilet paper, soap and running water. The proceeds are deposited in the bank and will later be divided among the members of a local cooperative that invested to help build and maintain the center.

Tosha is one of 76 BioCentres Umande has built across Kenya, using grant money from organizations such as Oxfam, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency and USAID. Even Kenya’s government has started buying in, funding the construction of 20 centers.

These concrete towers aren’t mere bathrooms. They are public spaces where people come to watch soccer matches, hold meetings, study for school, lift weights or cook lunch. On an afternoon in March, a pot of beans boiled on the stove in the kitchen. The woman preparing it would return in a couple of hours to make githeri—a typical Kenyan mix of beans and maize.

Cooking with gas is uncommon in Kibera because it’s costly. Instead, most residents use charcoal, which is made by chopping down trees and carbonizing the wood in a process that emits C02. “We are encouraging people not to use charcoal, because by doing that we destroy the environment,” said Amuok.

But not everyone is fond of cooking in a building that also serves as a bathroom. So Umande is working on ways to build kitchens adjacent to the buildings, one of several modifications that should make the BioCentres even more sustainable and replicable.

Umande is piloting ways to put the gas into thick bags that people could buy and use for cooking at home. “But the bag is huge and the houses are so small it becomes cumbersome,” said Amuok. Now they are trying to figure out how to compress the gas into canisters.

Another challenge is what to do with the liquid and solid waste that accumulates after the gas is produced. Umande is experimenting with ways to convert the waste into fertilizer for farmers.

Still, the model is catching the eye of private and public donors alike. One U.K.-based NGO, Practical Action, is adapting it in rural Sri Lanka, using animal rather than human waste.

Looking ahead, Umande hopes to let toilet users pay without cash. Already, customers can use their cellphones and send money via the popular mobile payment service M-PESA. But M-PESA charges fees, so Umande has been testing other options including debit cards and monthly access cards. Going cashless helps prevent stealing or corruption, and improves security for Umande employees and users.

Because no independent, scientific studies have been done, it’s hard to know how effective Umande’s approach is toward improving the health of users over the long run. But 10 years since opening shop in Africa’s largest slum, Umande’s BioCentres remain functional, profitable, and above all, used. Across Kenya, tens of thousands of people frequent their toilets each day.

Written  by

Jacob Kushner

https://twitter.com/JacobKushner

http://impactjournalismday.com/story/from-human-waste-to-community-space/

 

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SCHOOL BIO-SANITATION PROJECT (NG’ARARIA GIRLS SECONDARY SCHOOL)

Ngararia 1The project aims to connect twenty newly constructed Bio-toilets in Ng’araria Girls Secondary located in kandara constituency in Kiambu County to a bio-digester.

The project will improve the toilets and handwashing facilities within the school. The students will also be taken through a hand washing training session and dos and don’ts of using the bio-toilets.

The school has a student population of approximately 700. It’s  among school’s which have embraced eco-innovations by introducing the use of biogas digesters to not only provide the school with biogas to supplement

ngararia 2

the use of firewood, but also to convert waste into slurry that will be used as fertilizer.

Prior Ng’araia Girls secondary school had poor and over stretched sanitation facilities. The school’s administration and parents committee recognized the need for improvement, and luckily availed funds for the purchase of necessary materials needed for construction of the bio-sanitation facility.