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


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