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Kenya School is a Model for Green Economy

A secondary school for girls in Kenya is changing the way that the east African nation views recycling and the green economy by using the bio-gas from student waste as cooking material, replacing charcoal and firewood—and in the process saving hundreds of trees and adding less carbon dioxide to the local environment.

While the process being used at the Gachoire Girls Secondary School in Kiambu, Kenya, might initially seem a bit off-putting, school officials and students are excited about the example they are setting for their country—and for the world.

“If all schools, both primary and secondary, took up this initiative, I think after a few years we can count how much carbon we have saved from the atmosphere by sparing the trees and our forests,” Esther Lung’ai, a local project officer at the Arid Lands Information Network, a non-governmental organisation, said in a story on

And if you are disturbed by the idea of eating food from a kitchen that has used bio-gas in the preparation, Lung’ai said she had eaten food from the school kitchen and there was nothing in the taste to indicate that it had been cooked using by-products of human waste.

The process of creating bio-gas involves taking waste from the school toilets and depositing it into large pipes that pump it into a bio-digester buried underground, where it then has bacteria added to break down the waste and gas is produced that is transferred to the kitchen.

The process rescues an estimated 150 mature trees every year from destruction, and saves the school about $117 a month in fuel that doesn’t need to be purchased.

Local residents have become entranced by the project, which began 6 yeas ago. People come to the school to see how the process works and some households have even begun producing their own bio-gas from animal dung.

“The whole world … is talking about climate change,” Peter Muraya, a teacher involved in the project, told “But many people are just giving lip service. I know in our small way we are helping to address the impact of climate change by saving the trees and using this clean energy source.”

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