Residents of Nairobi's Kibera slum live in a community faced with a history of waste management issues and a constant need for cooking fuel. One locally based organization is tackling both problems at once with an innovative community oven fueled by solid waste.
Waste management is a major problem in all of the informal settlements in the country. Heaps of garbage are the order of the day everywhere in Kibera, the world's second largest slum. Laini Saba, one of the villages in Kibera slum now becomes the first community in the world to develop a cooker that burns solid waste to produce heat for cooking. Ushirika wa Usafi, a community-based organization, have posed themselves as the leading sanitation and solid waste managers. With support from collaborators and partners, they have managed to set up a community cooker that burns solid waste like rags. During sorting, organic waste is used as fertilizer in sack gardens. The metals and plastics that cannot burn in the cooker are sold to scrap metal dealers and the money goes back to the organization. The cooker is a blessing to the residents who now enjoy cheap cooking as compared to cooking with kerosene. The cooker uses used oil and water mixed in a tap then dropped in a chamber to catalyze the burning, reaching up to 800 degrees Celsius. The cooker is used to bake, roast, boil water, and cook all different types of food. Five liters of used oil costs only 150 shillings and is used for a whole month. The community cooker has transformed the way people handle solid waste in the community. Roy Okello, reporting for African Inspirational TV, KiberaTV, Nairobi.