The Fuel from Waste Network is an international group working on waste management, sustainable fuel and sustainable employment in developing communities. The group is led by community groups and informal sector artisans; supported by international NGOs and Universities. We are based in Nairobi, Kenya.
The network was created from a collaborative research project and a groundbreaking unConference in Nairobi during May 2011.
The background and details are below.
In 40 years, Kenya’s forest cover has depleted from 11 to 1.5%. This is a direct result of a burgeoning population (about 35 million, 2008) using wood products as fuel. With increase in fossil fuel prices more people revert to “cheaper” wood-based fuels and/or burning toxic waste. 56% of Kenyans, surviving on less then 1USD/day, are uninformed on toxicity of burning synthetic waste. Tree felling, insufficient reforestation and inadequate supply of affordable alternative fuels, further compromise forests.
Beside the massive environmental degradation and habitat loss, there is also an increased number of youth and of women-headed households with scarce income generation opportunities and conflicts arising from scarce resources. About 51% of the residents of Nairobi live in the slums, 60% of this population is made up of people below 24 years (UN Habitat). Given the number of youth and the increasing need for them to support their own livelihoods, new income-generating activities are essential, especially when they contribute to other rapidly emerging problems – that of the depletion of Kenya’s forest resources.
The Project – ‘Jua Kali’ / Informal Manufacture Sector Collaboration
The project that underpinned the ‘Fuel from Waste’ – Briquetting unConference and the appropriate technology, open-innovation hub ‘madegood.org’ was a collaboration among Middlesex University (MDX – Product Design and Engineering and redLoop – the mdx design and innovation centre), Kenyatta University (KU – Energy Department) and Terra Nuova East Africa (TN – Jua Kali Programme), developing an existing KU/TN partnership during 2010/11.
It focused on biomass fuel briquette manufacture within the informal sector in Nairobi; the development of design and engineering skills and artisan partnerships for KU and MDX students; training of unemployed local youth and promotion and dissemination to the wider populace in areas of fuel from biomass waste, sustainable employment and entrepreneurship; and the creation of an appropriate technology open-innovation hub – Madegood.org. The project addressed deforestation and domestic energy use, using appropriate technology, in Kenya.
The developments in the areas above, led to the ‘Fuel from Waste’ unConference, as the best way of bringing all the elements together and co-creating the next stages in this work. See the Home page for plan that was created in the unConference, and ongoing activity by the network.
“This document is an output from the EPA Project funded by the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) for the benefit of the African Further and Higher Education Sector and the UK Higher Education Sector. The views expressed are not necessarily those of BIS, nor British Council.”