Under the world vision Programme the school was funded in building a bio digester with Umande acting as the main contractors, the bio-digester is complete and hence a sensitization session was held at Reuben vision primary school in Mukuru (Top 2) on Friday 5th February which is a school set up that has been in operation since 2011. The bio digester at Rueben vision serves a total of 310 students and cooks meals including breakfast and lunch. The school set up includes the following;
The following were the objectives of the sensitization session training
1) Information on operations and maintenance of the bio center and sanitation facilities.
2)Learn from Reuben vision on the cost benefit analysis on the feeding Programme in the school.
3) Share experience and ideas on how the bio-digester works and explore business options suitable for the project.
The total number of participants who attended the session included 10 teachers, 4 school committee members, 2 students and 2 members from the kitchen in total 18 members from Ngunyumu primary attended the session.
Reuben vision primary school started in the year as per 2016 it was there 6th year of sitting for the Kenya certificate of primary education .Like most schools in the informal settlements the most glaring issue that the school faced was daily exposure to inadequate sanitation ,although they had various toilet options this options were unhygienic, expensive and unsafe for the school going children ,those students unable to access safe and affordable sanitation facilities were left with no option but openly defecate or use “flying toilets “.
Reuben vision primary school for the longest time depended on on- plot toilets that had been built right opposite the school where they had to pay Ksh 3000 per month in order for the students to access the sanitation facility which was unsafe and unhygienic. The amount charged monthly was dependent on availability of water at the toilets; lack of water meant an increase in charges and times the owner would be forced to shut down the toilet due to poor hygiene and unhealthy practices leaving the school management with no alternative.
Umande started the construction of the bio-center in 2011 and a year later the bio-center was officially launched in 2012, although the production of biogas did not start immediately, the gas was produced after approximately 4-5 months and since then the school has never had any other form of energy for cooking .prior to the bio center the management used other form of energy for cooking which included charcoal, firewood, and kerosene on a monthly basis the school would spend close to ksh 5000 per month . .
The bio center serves both students and the community members, the community members use the sanitation facility at a fee of ksh 3 for toilet, ksh 5 for showering and ksh 10 for showering with hot water, the school gets a substantial amount from payment use of the facility. The facility also has 4 rental houses which generate income to the group; cleanliness of the facility is maintained by a caretaker who is stationed at the facility.
Looking at the cost benefit analysis there expenses have reduced by 80% and the students no longer suffer in terms of sanitation needs and feeding Programme of the school. The biogas is used for preparing meals and running the feeding Programme in the school. The students report to schools as early as 6.ooam breakfast and lunch is provided in the school. Some few students also board and are provided with meals during the term and holidays.
The delegation from Mukuru was happy about the success story of Reuben vision the session was quite interactive with the Korogocho team asking questions about the operations and maintenance of the model since to them this is a new technology and there yet to familiarize themselves with it. A walk around the facility was done showcasing what a bio center entails in totality the group was excited and looked forward to the production of bio gas in their own project
The group was taken through the business model options bearing in mind that there toilet facility is not open to the public some of the viable options include:
- putting up toilet facilities near the school gate for public usage but at a fee and connecting it to the bio digester
- Developing a feeding Programme for schools around Korogocho at a fee which will benefit the school profitably (Monthly or per term)
- Allowing community members use biogas during holidays sessions
- Connecting on-plot toilets within the 60m radius of the school
Because it’s a government institution determining the business model is quite complex so the school is at liberty to choose best option that suites the school.
The team had a couple of questions on the functionality of the bio digester
- where will the gas be transported from before it gets to the digester
- is the gas hot enough to cook githeri which is the main meal at Ngunyumu
- will the smell of the gas affect the school children
- Is the gas going to pollute the environment and harm the community members and the school children
- what will happen to the gas during the school holidays
- will there be a lot of fire outbreaks in the school
- how will they be able to detect a gas leakage in the system
The team was taken through the system in Rueben Vision and they saw the gas in use at the facility. The team was taken through a technical training session where they were taken through:
- The various components of a bio digester
- The construction process of a digester
- How the toilets are linked to the digester and in turn the digester is linked to the septic tank
- The gas connection from the digester to the kitchen
- The anaerobic process that occurs in the digester
- The operation manual of the bio sanitation system
- The components of biogas
- The properties of the components of biogas
- Answers to the questions that had been raised at the beginning of the session
At the end of the day the team members had understood most of the processes that go on in the bio digester and how to maintain the toilets and the kitchen facilities in order to have maximum production of gas. The training session was a success and the group understood how the system operates.
Written By; Grace Odeya