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Projects of transformation

Turning human waste into domestic gas

Department :

Jinja Urban Center in Uganda

Government Level :

Local government

Initiator :

Walukuba Division of the Jinja Municipality

Purpose :

The Walukuba bio-gas Digester Project in Jinja, Uganda, provides an interesting example of how a local urban problem with significant negative socio-economic risks for the poor can be dealt with through innovative and collaborative efforts between local communities, local government and other stakeholders to improve the communityís overall health and well being.

Abstract :

Walukuba Division, in which Walukuba is located, is one of the three administrative divisions that constitute Jinja Municipality. The estate that belongs to Jinja Municipal Council (JMC) is made up of approximately 1 600 low-cost housing units built in the 1950s for low-income employees of JMC and surrounding factories. The population of the area has since exploded, complicated by the tenantsí inability pay monthly rent to JMC and for services from other providers. This was resulting in very serious negative consequences to their welfare due to the fact that human waste ended up contaminating water sources, generating high incidents of diseases, especially diarrhoea and intestinal worms, particularly among children under five years. The bio-gas project was developed as a community response to this unacceptable situation.

Implementation  Methodology :

In 1995, JMC obtained funding from the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) to implement several community environmental programmes under the Local Agenda 21 model community programme. A five-month participatory baseline survey was conducted to identify the most important environmental problems faced by the municipality. Two project areas were prioritised for funding, namely, solid waste management and sewerage and sanitation. The sewerage and sanitation survey revealed a looming health crisis in Walukuba estate due to poor sanitation and hygiene. The project was set up at blocks J, R, O and P. Human waste was tapped in one facility to provide the bio-gas digester with sufficient raw materials for generating energy for community use. A partnership agreement was entered into with LA 21 and ICLEI to provide supervision and management support to the LA 21 community projects. A partnership-building meeting was used to inform the community about the objectives and overall requirements for implementation of the project. A project management committee of five people was selected from within the community and their roles were specified. JMC hired a contractor to design and supervise the construction of the digester while the community members contributed their energy by digging the 7ft deep by 14ft diameter pit. The gas that is now produced from the conversion process is channelled through the pipes of the digester dome and is used by households for lighting and cooking.

Results :

  • The project made a beneficial impact on the community in blocks J, R, O and P where it was piloted.
  • Community members gained knowledge on bio-gas production and technology through observation.
  • Beneficiary families have access to cheap energy for lighting and cooking and are realising significant savings in terms of household energy expenditure.
  • The community the digesterís by-products are contributing to crop production - the sludge is used as fertilizer and the fluid waste as a crop pesticide.
  • There is noticeable improvement in sanitation in the area arising out of proper disposal of human waste.
  • Medical reports show a sharp reduction in incidence's of water-borne diseases.
  • New partnerships have emerged in the development and management of the project involving the local government (JMC), the community and other stakeholders.
  • The project has an in-built potential for sustainability.
  • There is a ready market for the products produced.
  • The project enjoys strong support from JMC, which designated a specific officer to supervise its operations on a continuous basis.

  • Funders :

    International Council for local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI)

    Contact Person :

    John Kiyaga-Nsubuga

    Address :

    Uganda Management Institute

    Links : Service Delivery Review Vol 2 No 2

    Disclaimer : While utmost care was exercised in the compilation of material contained herein, the DPSA is not responsible for the views, facts or project timeliness as captured in the case studies. The database of Projects of Transformation (POT) is meant to make accessible service delivery best practice within government and the coordinators of the database relied on information as supplied by the project partners or initiators.

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