The Mukuru BioCentres project, submitted by Umande Trust (Kenya) and GOAL Ireland, has received an honorable mention in the 2009 Buckminster Fuller Challenge. BioCentres offer “a comprehensive solution to some of the most egregious problems of urban slums, from poor sanitation to lack of clean water to unpredictable or nonexistent energy infrastructure”, according to the jury report. “The BioCentres, of which there are already 12 in operation in Kenya, are public toilets housed above a biogas digester that produces affordable fuel from human waste, which is then made available to the local community. The facilities also provide clean water, public space, and workspace which serves as an incubator for local businesses”.
A BioCentre is a biogas generating latrine block, managed by community groups, which can be located anywhere in a slum as it treats human waste in-situ without requiring sewerage infrastructure. It comprises of the following:
- Digester: Mixes water and human waste in anaerobic conditions to make biogas; remaining liquid effluent is 90% pathogen free and filtered on site.
- BioGas: Used for cooking and can be linked to children’s feeding projects. It reduces carbon emissions by converting methane to CO2 and water and by substituting the need for other fuels.
- Toilets and washrooms: Ground floor to ensure disabled access with free ‘child only’ cubicles
- Water Kiosk: selling affordable clean water
- Upper Floors: Maximizes restricted urban space, has a hall and ancillary rooms for community and livelihoods activities eg cottage industries or restaurant. Income generated through rental can subsidize the operation of the toilets.
The BioCentre can be built with locally available technology, local unskilled labor and requires minimal maintenance as it has no movable parts.
In each BioCentre there is a room for a community health worker. These are community members, trained by GOAL to disseminate hygiene and health information
Read the full project description here.
Web site: Unimade – BioCentres
Source: Buckminster Fuller Challenge, 04 May 2009