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Winner Spotlight: Biogas Technology To Improve Sanitation And Mitigate Climate Change

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This year’s Popular Choice Winner in Climate CoLab’s Waste Management contest goes to a team of students and faculty members at Kenyatta University for their proposal, Using Biogas Technology to Improve Sanitation and Mitigate Climate Change. The group’s objective is to use low-cost and efficient biogas digester technologies to reduce human waste and cut greenhouse gases, while also improving public health through better waste management. The proposal suggests that different anaerobic digester technologies be piloted in all of the counties of Kenya, then after a 6-12 month testing period, an evaluation would identify which technologies work best for the various pilot communities. The evaluation also serves to guide the kinds of training programs needed for teaching installation and management of  anaerobic digesters, generating workforce development opportunities for these communities.

   2014 Judge’s Choice Winners: Team from left to right: Osero Steohen Onkundi, Dr. Margaret Muturi, Dr. Martin Nzomo, Dr. Cecilia Gichuki and Osero Shadrack Tengeya

Team member Osero Shadrack Tengeya tells us more about the exciting project:

What inspired you to submit a proposal to the Climate CoLab?

Our motivation to submit this proposal to Climate CoLab was the need to drive change on how waste is produced and handled in Kenyan institutions.  We aimed to provide a long-term solution to poor sanitation in schools and prisons. This was, as well, driven by the inner motive of our government’s dream to ensure a safe and clean environment for its citizens as it is inscribed in the Vision 2030 blueprint. As a lead author to this Climate CoLab proposal, the idea came to mind in 2010, while I was in high school. This culminated to the initiation of a pilot project in Ngong Nairobi which was funded by Dr. Cecilia Gichuki.

How did having your proposal on the Climate CoLab platform help you further develop your idea?

Currently, I am in my fourth year in Kenyatta University studying Environmental Studies (Resource Conservation). We submitted the proposal in the 2013 contest but it didn’t go far. However, the judges were able to highlight the technicalities it lacked, which gave us morale to edit it for a 2014 submission. Creating an entry for the 2014 contest was a fascinating experience as we got views and input from Fellows, Catalysts and  Climate CoLab community members. Taking note from the constructive criticism, we were able to address any issues to the draft and made it through the semi-finals and finals, eventually enabling us to win the Popular Choice Award through the support of the CoLab community.

What was the best thing that came out of being a part of the Climate CoLab?

The important thing we gained from this competition was the reception we got from the Catalyst, Fellows and community members. I will not forget the guidance I was given by Tapesh Mishra (Climate Colab Catalyst), who personally gave us insight to the Nepal Biogas Support Program. This was a boost to our proposal development as it really added value in answering some questions that were posed by the Judges. After being crowned the winners for the Popular Choice Award in the Waste Management category, we hope to get networks from NGOs, Foundations and other interested persons and agencies that will be able to mentor and support our proposal into reality.

Climate change is a negative externality that affects all of us and needs global collective efforts to combat it. The World Bank Turn Down The Heat report identifies that the poor developing countries in the world will bear the brunt of climate change impacts, hence I believe it’s not too late to start investing in clean energy technologies for a sustainable future.

Check out the winning proposal here!: https://www.climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/1300206/planId/1002

Learn more about Osero’s winning proposal at the Climate CoLab’s Crowds & Climate Conference, Nov 6-7 at MIT!

And see other Spotlights of Climate CoLab winners, Fellows and Advisors here: https://www.climatecolab.org/web/guest/search#search=searchPhrase:spotlight