At least 1,000 households in Kariobangi slum, Nairobi, are set to benefit from a Sh4.5 million community cooker project that turns trash into fuel.
The project to be managed by Raslimali Enterprises Limited comprising 11 youth groups in Kariobangi and its environs focuses on instilling entrepreneurship culture among the youth to improve livehoods.
At the macro-level, the project will contribute towards addressing the problem of youth unemployment, which stands at 67 per cent. Speaking during the ground-breaking ceremony by Environmental Track, Governor Evans Kidero said solutions to social economic challenges can no longer be a government-led or county only affair.
“The project, which will be implemented through social enterprises approach, advances the principle of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” said Kidero.
According to Global Peace Foundation patron Manu Chandaria, the community cooker provide access to clean renewable energy that will be used for multiple benefits in the community such as round-the-clock ready meals, input for generating products from other enterprises, practical training on waste separation at household level, compositing, and plastic recycling for value addition.
“It will provide opportunity for capacity building on entrepreneurship, leadership and sustainable peace and development,” said Chandaria. The community cooker is a device that uses trash as a resource to produce heat for a large stove-top that local residents use for cooking and heating water to be used in a communal ablution facility.
UNEP Regional Director Dr Juliete Biao Koudenoukpo urged the county government to create mechanism and regulatory frameworks that incentivise partnership for social impact investment. “Take ownership of this project and run it with integrity, discipline and dedication for a successful business,” he said.
With county government not providing garbage collection in the area, tonnes of plastic bags, bottles and food waste form a distressing and harmful backdrop for the health of thousands of people living in Kariobangi.
The cooker is based around a simple incinerator for dry solid waste, which burns at more than 800 degrees Celsius, with a very high combustion efficiency of up to 99 per cent, according to its designers. The heat is channelled to nine cooking plates, used by local people to make food for commercial and domestic purposes, as well as for heating water.
“The main aim of constructing this facility was to help slum dwellers manage their solid wastes sustainably, and earn from it at the same time,”Kariobangi North representative Michael Wainaina Nairobi-born Jim Archer, chairman of Planning Systems Services, said he first started toying with the idea for the cooker back in the 1980s because he was disturbed by the growing mountains of rubbish he saw around him in Africa, where garbage collection is often poor.