Kibera, Kenya – Community Turns Garbage Into Energy Source
A community-based organisation in the Kenyan slum area of Kibera set out to clean up garbage and deal with waste water; Ushiriki Wa Safi ended up creating a community cooker that turns waste into an energy source.
Open sewers and piles of garbage are an all too familiar scene in many of Kenya’s poorest urban areas. Local authorities are invisible in most of these slums, and poor public hygiene and the absence of sanitation leaves residents to their own devices to maintain a level of cleanliness and keep diseases like diarrhoea at bay.
But some have seen this as an opportunity to bring about change to communities. Ushirika Wa Safi – (loosely translated, the name means “an association to maintain cleanliness” in Swahili) – a community-based organisation in Kibera, was formed to deal with the garbage problem in Laini Saba, one of the thirteen villages that form Kibera slums, often described as Africa’s largest.
The CBO has come up with a remarkable solution in the form of a community cooker that turns garbage into energy. It is a recycling project that is transforming the lives of local residents.
MONROVIA – West Point, the densely populated slum community in Monrovia, has been enveloped by garbage and other waste matter, posing a health hazard to its residents.
An estimated 75,000 persons, predominantly women and children, live in the slum community.
During a three-day tour of the community, it was observed that the sanitation crisis in the area ranged from inadequate and insanitary latrines to mounting garbage and ignorance of basic sanitary regulations.
A West Point advocacy group, Youth Against Environmental Pollution (YAEP), told the Daily Observer during the tour that the health situation in the community is going from bad to worse. The youth organization called for urgent intervention by the central government and its development partners in arresting the sanitation crisis in the area.
The spokesman of YAEP, John Bawon Geegbae, 44, said his group, as a community-based organization, has been making efforts to draw the attention of relevant stakeholders to the sanitation problem in the community.
Geegbae also pointed out that they had sent several communications to many environmental and health groups over the past eight months.
“But our requests have only fallen on deaf ears. Besides, we have carried out sustained awareness and sensitization [campaigns] on the importance of environmental cleanliness and garbage disposal in this community, yet the residents are not helping with the situation,” he disclosed.
The YAEP official also intimated, however, that the garbage-infested condition of West Point can no longer be handled by the residents. “It requires the concerted efforts and intervention of the Municipal Government of Monrovia and other stakeholders.”
He used the occasion to appeal to the Ministry of Health & Social Welfare through its Environmental and Occupational Health Division to help design programs aimed at addressing the West Point sanitation crisis.
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