For the last one year, we have worked with strong and resilient women in the communities we serve in Kenya and around the world to finish energy poverty. Without a doubt, gender plays a key role in increasing adoption and sustainability of improved energy sources. Most often, women especially in rural areas spend most of their time in the farm and are primarily responsible for taking care of the farm activities and raising their families. Most importantly, they experience first-hand the toil and turmoil involved in getting food on the table. It starts all the way from spending long hours in the forest to get firewood that can barely last for a week to fearlessly enduring the kitchen smoke that chocks and irritates the eyes. Here is a highlight of just a handful of this women.
In December 2017, Nancy Boen couldn’t wait anymore. Having witnessed first-hand the hustle and cost involved in getting access to the toxic wood fuel, she was brave enough to be among the very first Sistema.bio clients in Kericho County. She was undeterred by the fact that her community members had never seen or used such a biodigestion technology. Embracing Sistema.bio’s vision of creating value from waste, she forged ahead and today her BB6 digester provides her family with more than enough energy to cook and fertilizer for her greenhouse and vegetation that she often cultivates for her poultry unit. Being a respected community leader, she uses her influence to rally other members of the community to purchase and enjoy Sistema.bio products and services to end energy poverty. Her decision to purchase the digester has catalysed adoption of Sistema.bio digesters in the region and we now have over 1000 digesters across Kenya.
Mary Mugo is a resilient businesswoman who has survived harsh and challenging times. Losing her husband to a road accident early in the years meant working extra harder in order to provide a modest education and lifestyle for her children. Juggling between farm work and business meant enduring the early and cold mornings and late evening haste. Reliance on wood fuel under this conditions and especially during the rainy seasons would mean choosing between having breakfast and losing out on a business opportunity. Her bold moment came when she decided to invest in a Sistema.bio digester. Her control on her energy and fertilizer needs has not only restored her dignity as a hardworking woman but has also given her an opportunity to save money and provide healthy organic food for her family and clients. She uses the money she saves to pay school fees for her children and in expanding her business. In all its ambiguity, resilience perfectly defines Mary.
Trizah was bothered by the rate at which her kitchen was getting black from the smoke soothe. “If the wall can get this dark in a few months, how much darker are my lungs from a lifetime of inhaling firewood smoke?”- Trizah pointed out. Just like her neighbors, her family had to spend a lot of time fetching the limited firewood in their farm. A move that would later be dangerous for families, especially for women and children who spend long hours in the kitchen cooking for their families. As a wife and a mother, she decided to confront the problem by purchasing a Sistema.bio digester. Now she enjoys a healthy cooking experience and has begun a journey of building generations of sustainable communities.
We can’t help but admire Elizabeth’s passion for safeguarding the environment. Deforestation has become a menace in Kenya and around the world, something that distraught her. She believes that the situation has resulted to very unpredictable weather patterns which is affecting farmers in her community. The reducing land sizes is pushing farmers to clear more land for agricultural purposes and the situation is even further accelerated by the lack of affordable and sustainable energy sources. Elizabeth installed a Sistema.bio digester in order to stop relying on wood fuel and as a result safeguard forests. “Look at my little growing forest, I hope that everyone can chose biogas so that we can restore our earth’s glory.”- Says Elizabeth, as she emotionally point out to her trees growing downstream.
What’s more when you are impacting even your own flock. Wanjiru Kiuna; a Sistema.bio staff, is a shining star in her community and at Sistema.bio. Access to cooking energy is increasingly becoming a huge challenge in Kenya and around the world, and Kiuna is at the forefront in preaching wine and drinking wine. “I wouldn’t have skipped my parents and sell such a good product to the community. This would be mean on myself.”- Says Kiuna. She is driven by the desire to be part of a larger movement that make the society work for everyone.
These women have taken brave steps by investing in sustainable energy solutions for their families and friends, and they have become powerful agents of change in their communities to fight energy poverty. Every day we proudly celebrate such small but bold steps.[us_single_image image=”1401″]