Living in the so-called “developed” world makes us forget sometimes that things like clean tap water, toilet flush, or a lunch meal at school, are not just there and given. What we have here at our disposal every second of every day, is a major luxury in many parts of the world.
So, here is a story.
Maseno, Western Kenya. Home of the oldest English- language school in the country, which has been providing education to thousands of students, including the father of the current US president Obama, for the past hundred years. Such school in our developed world would be praised enormously and funded continuously, however in Kenya, it faces numerous problems, just as every single other one.
In 2013, the school was proud to announce that they completed a new dormitory to host 720 of its pupils. The construction solved a major problem for the school, but the local community was not too happy about it. The reasons- the sanitation system not only released a horrific smell due to the lack of water, but it also contaminated the stream providing drinking water. In addition, the kitchen in the dorm used firewood for cooking, which placed the health of all chefs at risk and it was cut from the nearby forest, upsetting the local community even more.
Now this sounds like a “Superman to the rescue” situation, doesn’t it? Well, this is what happened, only that the hero was the 17 year old student Leroy Mwasaru. He decided that it is time for him to take the matter in his own hands, and together with four of his classmates he developed an incredible system that uses sewage waste to produce natural gas for cooking– one stone, many rabbits.
The system is essentially a human poop bio-reactor, which stores biogas generated from the waste. The invention won the team an entry ticket to the Innovate Kenya challenge, which they won. Thanks to that, the group of students were sent to the first ever camp organized by the committee behind Innovate Kenya With, where with some help from MIT students and lecturers, the guys were even able to develop the first fully functioning prototype.
The prototype helped them raise enough money to polish up the invention and adjust it to the dorm’s conditions. Now, the incredible bio-reactor is functioning perfectly well, providing gas to the kitchen, and utilizing all this waste that was unbearable before.
Of course, the guys do not stop here. They are aiming high, and they believe that their technology can revolutionize the way low-income families live.
Mwasaru and team need all the support they can get so that they can help many. They do appreciate any sponsorship or comment that anyone could give them, so if you think this is your way to make a change in the world, contact them.
Inventions by teenagers can be truly fascinating. If you are interested in other green techs that the young minds created, click here.
Image (c) Leroy Mwasaru