We believe that clean fuel can and should become more common in the rural areas. 80% of Sub-Saharan Africa is dependent on wood for fuel and this dependency is the leading cause of deforestation in our local area. As forests disappear, mainly women and children (especially girls) walk ever increasing distances to gather wood for their families. In addition to deforestation and hours of valuable time used, wood fuel is smokey and is the leading cause of respiratory disease in rural areas – with women and children most at risk.
Our solution is biogas, a natural by-product of cow manure. With one healthy cow and a limited amount of water, enough biogas can be produced to sustain a family of 6-8 people. Simple units that can be erected in a day and operational within two weeks are used to obtain the gas. The initial mix must be bovine dung, as it contains the anaerobic bacteria needed to convert the waste to methane. Once the anaerobic colony is established, chicken, goat or sheep dung can also be used to keep production going! A by-product of this system is the slurry (black gold) which is a very rich form of fertiliser.
In 2016 Jafuta Foundation partnered with FlexiBiogas, an alternative energy company based in Kenya, to install biogas converters in rural homesteads close to Victoria Falls. FlexiBiogas personnel came both to train our team and to install our first 4 biogas units for the initial phase of the project.
Numbers of biogas converters have now been installed with the aid of several generous donors. Our priority is to get as many of these units as possible installed in rural homesteads with young families. We believe that the children will accept this relatively new concept and master it most quickly. We want these systems to become the norm for the next generation, who already have an awareness of the consequences of using wood fuel.
Families using the biogas units have reported an 85% reduction in wood consumption as well as higher crop yields due to the use of the organic fertiliser by-product.