Friday, March 20, 2015

Celebration Of A Life Well Lived

Dear Partners,
It is with profound sadness that we wish to inform you of the demise of Justice Kasanga Mulwa on 16th March 2015. Until his death, Justice Mulwa was a valuable member of the board of Trustee, Umande Trust. This is a major loss not only to the Umande Fraternity but also to the legal Fraternity and the Country as a whole.
He will be remembered for his invaluable championing of bio-sanitation in institutions, his activeness in promoting and financing eco-innovations in Makueni and Machakos Counties
On behalf of the Family, Community groups, the Board and Team Members at Umande Trust, we invite you to a memorial service to pay tribute on 23rd March 2015, at Kingdom Assembly next to TOP 3 Resource centre from 4.00pm-5.00pm.
May God Rest his Soul in Peace

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Kibagare Haki Zetu Biocentre

On Tuesday, I went to Kangemi to visit the Kibagare Haki Zetu Biocentre.  Kangemi is located near Westlands.  We left Umande Trust's office in the early afternoon and took two matatus to get there.   Upon arrival we walked through the Kangemi fruit and vegetable market, then went back into the settlement itself.

The biocentre was built in 2011, and about a year and a half ago the group began a solar program with 6 solar panels.  They are placed on top of the biocentre.  The solar panels produce enough energy to power the biocentre and between 6-8 households.  It costs the households 300/- per month.   I spoke with the treasurer and she really appreciates having the solar power at her house.  Prior to solar power, her households and others used kerosene and candles for lightening, but now having solar power allows them to have clean energy, and it can power more than kerosene, for example TVs.

Here is a view of the solar panels. They are spread all around the roof.

The demand for connections to the solar power is much higher than the supply currently.  There were many more households that were interested, but the project will need to expand to accommodate the demand. As the solar power mostly used at night, during the day the biocentre chairperson would like to set up a charging station, to make use of the energy during the day.

This is the control room for the solar project. 
Inside the biocentre, there is a clinic, and while I was there I spoke to one of the doctors.  She told me that they have been there for 9 months now.  The clinic provides services to community members at a subsidized rate. On average the clinic sees 15 patients per day and the average cost is 350/-.

Then we walked around Kangemi and visited a toilets that are connected to the biocentre. We also passed by a school that is connected to the biocentere.

On average the Kibagare Biocentre makes 1500/- per day and on the weekends 1700/-.  Plus they receive revenues from the solar project and the clinic that is inside.

The solar project is very interesting, and it is very beneficial in these areas. Developing solar energy not only provides people with a clean alternative to fuels that they are currently using, but it also allows for the energy to be used for TV and other appliances.   This is something that can be expanded upon, especially as clean energy is the way of the future in the fight against climate change.

-Michelle Swiger

Friday, March 6, 2015

Lindi Safi and Tosho 1 Biocentres

Yesterday, I went to several biocentres.  One of the biocentres I visited was the Lindi Safi Biocentre.  The Lindi Safi biocentre has children all around, as there is a nursery school on the upper level.   Here I spoke to the operator of the biocentre.   It was opened in 2010 and their organization has 36 members, and 20 of them are active members.  

On average, there 20 female users and 40 male users for the toilets, which cost 5/- per use.    Overall this is a smaller biocentre, but the operator was very helpful. He answered all my questions, and showed me around.   Along with running the biocentre he showed me his other job; he repairs shoes.    He showed me how he repairs shoes and the different types of shoes that he was currently repairing.   He was very happy to share how he did his job!

Another biocentre I visited was Tosho 1; this biocentre has a lot of activity! There are always people coming in and out.  They also produce so much biogas that some months it is difficult to use it all. For 10/- community members can come and cook with biogas.  

This biocentre use is a good example of the need to have a way to bottle or put biogas onto the electricity grid.  This project sounds great, and it is places like Tosho 1 that create a lot of biogas that will help this project succeed.   

By Michelle Swiger