Last edited: 6 November 2015
The Mount Kenya Energy Project was started in 2009 by Ingelore Kahrens to spread the use of appropriate technology and to develop an awareness of its advantages. The project currently serves people in the small village of Gaketha, Kenya. A local women's group has been formed called Gaketha Laura Energy Saving Group. The project coordinator is Mugo Justus.
News and recent developments
- August 2015: Our German organisation Lernen-Helfen-Leben e.V. has focused on the construction of gasifier/pyrolysis stoves during the past threeyears. These stoves perform very well when pellets or Biomass briquettes made from plant waste are used. In my discussions with MKICDO board members we came to the conclusion that making briquettes for sale could be a viable income-generating project for the Kiini workshop. It would also be in line with our plans to build gasifier stoves at the new institute and train promotors to market them. Mugo found a young entrepreneur who already had some experiences in setting up such projects. We met and came up with a basic outline for a medium-scale business. The briquets will be made of sawdust and coffee husks. Sawdust is readily available from carpentry workshops. The husks are a waste product at coffee dry mills and are sold very cheaply. We went to a nearby coffee cooperative and made arrangements to be given priority once we need these raw materials.
- September 2013: Solar cooker construction workshop - In the first week of their training twelve participants worked in two groups and finished building one small and one large Lazola box cooker each. In the remaining two weeks each trainee worked with one partner and by the end of the course 12 cookers had been built.
- April 2010: Ingelore Kahrens went to Kenya again. In the meantime, Mugo had established contacts with several groups in the region and made arrangements for visits with them. In community centres, churches and schools and at the homes of women´s group members we met representatives of different types of groups. Mugo had recruited members of the Gaketha group as promoters. They explained to the listeners the advantages of the new technologies. A male member of the group gave information on the use of the neem tree for medical purposes as a natural insecticide. In every place we visited we left the participants with a solar cooker set and/or a clay liner for building an energy-efficient stove. The interest of the participants and the requests for further information were very high. In the future, Mugo was to act as contact person and a coordinator of the work of the promoters. Follow-up visits to new groups were planned in order to monitor their work and progress and to support them. (Text from Ingelore Kahrens)
- August 2009: Kahrens went to Kenya to visit the family of an African friend and former teacher colleague, Mugo Justus. They live in the small village Gaketha on the slopes of Mount Kenya at the boundaries of Mount Kenya Forest. At the East Africa office of Solar Cookers International in Nairobi I had bought a collapsible solar cooker (CooKit) and a retained-heat cooker (basket cooker). My friends found the cookers very useful and had the idea to interest others in them as well. With the assistance of the area chief, we mobilized representatives of different women´s groups and invited them for a demonstration. When they came we explained how solar cookers, basket cookers and energy-saving clay ovens function and what advantages they have over traditional cooking methods. In the kitchen house of the host, the women built a clay oven underneath a chimney and thus learnt about the advantages of a smoke-free kitchen. After this successful event, women from the Gaketha village founded the Gaketha Laura Energy Saving Group. After my departure they tried out the new technologies and met regularly to exchange their experiences. Mugo Justus functioned as an advisor and project coordinator. (Text from Ingelore Kahrens)
The purpose of the project is to spread the use of appropriate technology and to develop an awareness of its advantages. Income-generating activities are to improve the financial situation of the group members and to serve the welfare of their families, their community and their country.
- The use of solar cookers, heat-retention cookers (basket cookers) and energy-efficient stoves saves time (collection of firewood), which can be used for other activities
- The health of women is improved when they can work in smoke-free kitchens.
- The group members promote protection of the environment. The new way of cooking saves firewood (also time and money). Fewer trees have to be cut down while new trees are being planted (in tree nurseries).
- The group contributes to further education of the community and to the development of a general environmental awareness.
- The women initiate income-generating projects and thus contribute to an improved standard of living in their families and their community.
Current and future activies
- December 2010: Gaketha Laura Energy Saving Group has a director, a committee of nine people with a chairperson, a treasurer and a secretary. The group members meet regularly and at least once a month. Every member pays a fixed monthly contribution. The money is kept in a bank account and will be used to carry out the projects of the group.
Current activities of the group
- Producing basket cookers for sale
- Informing the public about the advantages of the new technologies and giving practical assistance in their application
- Purchasing chickens that are to be distributed among the group members in order to improve their families´ diets as well as their income (the sale of eggs brings good profit in Kenya)
- Purchase milk goats for every group member
- Produce solar cookers for their own use and for sale
- Establish tree nurseries with neem trees for their own use and for sale
- Participate in courses at Murugi Polytechnic in Chogoria
- See Ingelore Kahrens.