Woman embraces biogas in Kakuma
Four pieces of firewood in the camp costs an average Ksh100 ($1). For a family of four children that is the average amount they require to prepare one meal.
Susan Naimana, 37, is a mother of four who has been struggling to prepare meals for her children due to the prohibitive cost of firewood, in Kakuma Refugee Camp, in Turkana County, Kenya that has a population of over 190, 000 refugees.
“Firewood is expensive here. One can have food but struggle to access firewood for preparing it,” says Naimana, a Burundi refugee, who fled her country six years ago.
A month ago, Susan used a Ksh 61, 000 ($610) loan from AAH Kenya, to install a biogas. She will repay the loan in one year. The installation, which was undertaken by Biogas International, serves as a model of a sustainable domestic energy source.
Naimana is the ideal critical champion, not only does she care for her family, but runs a home bakery in the camp. She says she uses close to Ksh500 ($5) weekly to prepare close to 1000 loaves of bread that she sells to three primary schools, situated within the camp.
“Once am able to produce more gas, I will spend about Ksh100 ($1) daily on energy to make bread, a saving of up to Ksh400 ($4). This the cost of transporting the waste from the slaughter house,” she says, adding that the waste is free. Currently, she uses biogas to cook her family’s meals, but she plans to create a bigger digester in order to produce more gas to use in the bakery.
In Kakuma, Naimana is using leftover food, by-products from the local slaughter house and mathenge leaves to fill the digester. The biogas system consists of a simple tank, the floor and sides are covered with thick polythene paper. Inside this tank, bacteria convert organic waste into methane gas through the process of anaerobic digestion.
Waste and water are added to the digester on daily basis using a ratio of one to one. The gas lasts approximately 22 hours, from the moment of filling the system.
Edith Ingutuia, the Kakuma Project Business Development Officer, says Naimana’s biogas system is a model one. “If it succeeds, then we can roll it out to other refugees. They need to see and understand its benefits,” she says.
AAH Kenya set up The Kakuma Refugee Assistance Programme (KRAP) in 2015 aimed at enhancing the self-reliance and promoting sustainable livelihoods for over 4,000 refugees in Kakuma Camp, through the implementation of models that address resilience. These includes skills to increase employment opportunities and promote enterprises.
AAH Kenya was appointed by UNHCR as the lead partner for livelihoods activities in Kakuma Refugee Camp. Its objectives are to promote agribusiness and to facilitate Persons of Concern (PoCs) access to self-employment, including support to set up businesses.