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To phase out the use of wood fuel in schools,and encourage the use of biogas from school sewage, as a renewable source of cooking fuel.



Kenya, a developing country, heavily relies on unsustainable sources of energy.

With a population of over 38 million people, the use of wood as a source of fuel is widespread, with over 90% of the rural population depending on firewood and over 50% of the urban population using firewood (Walubengo, n.d.).

The use of biogas from human waste has helped countries such as Rwanda (Morgan, 2012)

Since an equally large number of schools in the country use firewood as a source of fuel, these schools can be used as centers of biogas produced from human waste as a cheaper source of fuel, both for the schools and for the community at large.

The main challenge is setting up these digesters is that  the lack of technical knowledge on the setting up of biogas infrastructure is a challenge to the implementation. Rukira Secondary School in  Eastern Rwanda was cited to be one of the places where the plant was poorly installed.(Ntambara,2010)

To solve this problem,Tumba College of Technology had been contracted to train personnel in the setting of biogas plants. The College is currently training personnel in three schools in Southern Rwanda, to ensure that this poor installation does not occur.

What actions do you propose?

  • Kenya relies 68% on wood fuel as a source of energy.
  • Almost every school in Kenya uses firewood as a source of energy
  • These schools use wood fuel equivalent to 53 trees on a daily basis, translating to a loss of 183 million trees through secondary schools alone.
  • The use of firewood in the country poses a great threat to our 1.7% forest cover.
  • The rate of tree planting to firewood consumption is unbearably low.
  • Mang’auni Secondary School, a rural boarding school in the outskirts of Machakos town with a population of 320 students and 31 members of staff, uses upto 60 ox-drawn carts of firewood a term at a cost of Ksh. 1200, with an included trimming cost of Ksh. 15000 per month (A total firewood cost of Ksh. 39000 per month)
  • According to (Appropedia, 2015), 1000lbs of human waste produces about 0.6 cubic meters of biogas (enough cooking fuel for about 1 to 2 persons).
  • From Rwanda’s experience (Morgan, 2012), these bio-digesters can still be topped with cow dung and kitchen waster, all of which are readily available in most schools.
  • This project can use large portable plastic bio-digester tanks at a low cost instead of constructed concrete tanks which are subject to pressure-related failure.

Who will take these actions?

The idea of this proposal is to pick a case study in a peri-urban school to implement the pilot project.

The Kratos Geosolutions team will be fully on the ground implementing the pilot project in Mang'auni. The project will be run by the the team. 

The team will maintain and manage the digester, and will also collect the fertilizer produced from the digester and sell the fertilizer to generate income.

The success of the pilot at Manga'uni will prompt the team to propose the implementation of the biogas digesters to other learning institutions in the resident County.

Kratos Geosolutions will also provide consultancy and expertise on the implementation of the digetsers in every school that uses firewood for fuel in the county.

Where will these actions be taken?

This proposal makes a case for a pilot project to phase out the unstainable use of wood fuel in rural schools in the semi-arid county of Machakos, by migration to the use of biogas from school sewage, as a renewable source of cooking fuel. The microbiological and engineering challenges in the design and operation of digesters have largely been overcome and widespread practical solutions for the production of biogas are now readily available in Kenya. However, the adoption of this technology in rural schools, where it is most needed, has been ad hoc and not informed by any formal study. A pilot project such as we propose shall aid in provision of valuable digester installation and performance measures needed to motivate County wide measures for this most needed changeover.

How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

This project will reduce carbon emissions produced from burning of wood fuel.

This project will encourage the use of biogas as a fuel for cooking as compared to using wood fuel, to reduce the felling of tress.This will reduce the risk on cutting trees, and increase the forest cover in Kenya and counter the effects off excess CO2 in our atmosphere.

All organic matter was originally produced through photosynthesis. When fossil fuels are burnt, they release CO2 that was removed from the atmosphere millions of years ago.The ancient carbon from fossil fuels cannot be removed quickly enough to stop atmospheric concentrations of CO2 increasing. Biogas is made from recently grown organic matter, which has passed along a food chain before it is used to make biogas, the carbon dioxide produced when it is burnt could potentially be balanced by carbon removed from the atmosphere by photosynthesis.

Thus greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced and thus the reduction of global warming potential (GWP).

What are other key benefits?

  • To set up a cost-effective portable human waste bioreactor using affordable and available tanks at a rural Primary/Secondary School so as to spark the wood to biogas migration initiative in the country.
  • Conversion of natural organic waste into fertilizer. It is completely natural and free from harmful synthetic chemicals. 
  • Considerable workload reduction as the children normally collect firewood for the school to use for cooking, before they arrive in school. This time they use collecting firewood could be used by the child to nurture their talent, study or play thus creating a more wholesome and socially nurturing environment for the child.
  • Cooking is also easier with a gas stove and takes less time. 
  • Biogas contributes positively to health conditions thus lowering the incidence of respiratory diseases.
  • Biogas plants significantly lower the greenhouse effects on the earth's atmosphere.




What are the proposal’s costs?

  1. Tanks 6200 liters@ 420000 KES 
    Pipes@120000 KES
    Valves and accessories@ 28500 KES
    Transport(materials and crew)@20000 KES
    Labour (Skilled and unskilled)62000 KES
    Administrative costs@ 38000 KES
    Miscellaneous @ 60000 KES
    Contingency 45000 KES
    Licensing 18000 KES
    Maintenance @ 30000 KES
    This brings our total to 841,500 KES

Time line

 5- 15 years of the project - the implementation of the project will begin in the first year to the mid into the second year. During the implementation of the project, Kratos will create a clear and consice tool kit for assessing the impact of the project. A tool kit of monitoring and evaluation will also be created between year 1-5 of the project implementation in the country. 

Roll out of this project to other counties in Kenya, will take up to 5- 15 years after the project has ben implemented, this is because, intense monitoring and evaluation needs to be carried out in the area that has been chosen as the pilot.

Once the outcome of the project is satisfactory and all failures and problems have been mitigated, then the roll out process can begin.

As the project is being rolled out, M&E processes will still be carried out in the county schools that have the biogas project.

Consequently, in the next 15 - 50 years of the biogas project, the project will be rolled out to various schools all over Africa, to encourage the use of biogas if the have not yet been implemented.

Related proposals




Appropedia, 2015. Biogas from human waste - Treatment of human waste in a biodigester. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 2015].

Morgan, H., 2012. Inhabitat - Rwanda's Poo-Powered Prisons are 75% Fueled By Burning Inmates' Wastes. [Online]
Available at: http://Rwanda's poo powered prisons _ Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building.htm
[Accessed 2015].

Walubengo, D., n.d. Biomass Use in Kenya - Policy Considerations ppt. s.l.:s.n.,--Kenya