Cow Dung and Cleaner Energy in Kenya
The town of Murang’a is a rural respite from the commotion of Nairobi, Kenya’s bustling capital. Our car deftly handled the curvy roads, throwing up dust in its wake on the way to the group loan meeting.
Kiva collaborates with microfinance institutions all over the world to facilitate loans to small-business entrepreneurs. One of its partners, Juhudi Kilimo, focuses on giving agricultural loans to small-scale farmers across Kenya and has a branch in the town of Murang’a.
The outskirts of Murang’a, an hour drive outside of Nairobi
When a client takes a loan from Juhudi Kilimo, he or she must meet with a larger group of borrowers at least once per month during the loan term. During these meetings, business ideas are tossed around, savings are deposited, and group members update each other on their business troubles and successes.
The meeting takes place at one of the group member’s homes, under the shade of a tree and with a cup of delicious Kenyan tea.
One of the group’s borrowers, a young woman named Esther Marubu, took a second loan from Juhudi Kilimo to construct a biogas unit. This system takes cow dung and converts it to natural gas, which can be used in the home for cooking and lighting.
Esther and her husband, Geoffrey, standing in front of their cow purchased with their first Juhudi Kilimo loan
HOW A BIOGAS SYSTEM WORKS
1) Cow dung is collected, placed in a fermentation pit, and mixed with an equal amount of water.
2) The mixture, or slurry, travels into the digester where anaerobic digestion takes place, and creates natural gas.
3) The natural gas is piped to the house and used for household tasks such as cooking or lighting.
4) The remaining slurry is now “cleaned” fertilizer which can be used to grow crops such as bananas.
*BENEFITS OF USING A BIOGAS SYSTEM
-Reduced air pollution, since there is no longer a need to burn wood
-Healthier environment, because of reduced breathing of wood smoke, which can lead to respiratory diseases
-Less time and labor used for collecting firewood
-Harmful bacteria is removed from the manure, which is usually a source of water pollution
-System should last 15 – 20 years without major repairs and even pay for itself after approximately 2 years.
If Esther and Geoffrey’s story has shown you the possibilities which can be achieved through microfinance, please take this opportunity to make a loan today. Click here to loan to a Juhudi Kilimo borrower in Kenya.
Jenny Coronel is a roaming Kiva Fellow based in Nairobi. She is enjoying trying all the new types of foods Kenya has to offer, including goat intestines.