Scientific Publication

Biogas as a Smart Investment for Women’s Empowerment and Livelihood Enhancement


Globally, over 1.1 billion people live without access to electricity and almost 3 billion people lack clean cooking facilities that are less harmful to human health and the environment (WEC 2013). According to the Global Alliance for Clean Cook Stoves as cited in their website, clean cookstoves and fuels have the potential to reduce deaths from smoke-related illnesses, mitigate climate change and lower air pollution (GACC 2018). They can provide new sources of livelihoods for women, reduce the risk and drudgery of fuel collection and lower household expenditures on cooking fuel. The world’s poor are continuously affected by the low availability of sustainable and reliable energy, especially in remote areas. Modern energy services are crucial for human well-being as well as national economic development. Biogas is one such promising technology. Biogas was introduced to Kenya in 1948 by Mr. Tim Hutchinson. The first biogas digester (biodigester) was built in Kenya by Hutchinson’s company, Tunnel Engineering Ltd. in 1957 (Ndereba 2013). Hutchinson discovered that the effluent (or ‘sludge’, bioslurry or digestate) is an excellent fertilizer and that its application to his coffee trees greatly improved productivity. Two types of biogas systems were introduced: the Chinese fixed dome digester and the Indian floating drum digester. Through initiatives by the Government of Kenya and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) the technology has been promoted in different rural areas in Kenya, mostly utilizing cattle manure as the main substrate (Blanchard 2018)