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Biogas and the MaasaiBy *Colin Murray, One Horizon Africa
One Horizon’s mission is the implementation of sustainable programs to help lift people out of poverty. And in every solution those programs have reference to the ecological impact of lifestyle on natural ecosystems.
The health of families and the environment is compromised
In Kenya traditional practices such as foraging for firewood has had negative impacts on the health of the community. The inhalation of smoke from cooking within cramped living quarters causes many respiratory problems. The denigration of natural forests has also reduced habitats for wildlife and lead to significant erosion and further loss of pastures.
Biogas provides a solution
However, within One Horizon’s communities of Maasai as well as grandmas trying to raise their grandchildren from small farms, a simple cost-effective solution has emerged. The installation of biogas systems is turning all the negative effects of overgrazing and lifestyle practices around.
Biogas uses what the Maasai have in abundance
A biogas system converts manure into an efficient and clean energy source. It is like a giant balloon that acts as a cooker. And it is the manure from the herds that the Maasai have in abundance. When mixed with water, the Masai have a ready source of gas which they use to cook with as well as a high-quality organic fertilizer. It is one of the highest grades of organic fertilizer available and a ready source of additional income for indigenous communities.
Biogas is a clean safe alternative
Biogas eliminates the need for Maasai women to forage for firewood. This activity can consume over 4 hours of effort a day. And when you add the fact that biogas eliminates the pillage of 20 kilos of firewood from the forest by a single forager each day, then you can appreciate how important biogas can be to the preservation of the environment and wildlife habitats. There is also less confrontation between locals and wildlife.
A modest investment delivers outstanding results
All in all, biogas is a modest investment that delivers outstanding environmental benefits as well as shaping positive lifestyle practices. In terms of sustainability and conservation practices it is one of One Horizon’s most popular sustainable programs that supports indigenous communities in Kenya. And it also never ceases to surprise One Horizon how popular this program is with its international guests who want to see it in action.