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Mara Biogas Project

The constant search for firewood to use as cooking fuel is a permanent problem for women in traditional Masai Communities. This problem occupies much time that could be otherwise used in more economically productive activities. The demand for firewood also puts pressure on and threatens fragile woodlands in the wilderness areas near these communities and all the interconnected ecosystems. In a pioneering effort to combat these twin problems Governors’ Camp funded the construction of two bio-gas plants in a Manyatta (traditional Masai homestead) near Mara Rianda village.

This biogas plant uses the dung of cattle and goats corralled in the Manyattas at night to fuel the production of methane gas which is piped into each and every house in the Manyatta (over forty houses) for cooking on. The use of Biogas as a renewable source of energy for this Masai community has some clear benefits to both the environment and the local community.

The project has freed up time for the women of the Manyatta to pursue more economically productive activities than the collection of firewood and has simultaneously lessened the pressure on adjacent woodlands. Indeed these woodlands are now beginning to regenerate and return to their natural state and the local ecosystems are beginning to thrive once again. Another benefit is that the number of flies in the manyatta has decreased and with this the incidence of fly born/ transmitted diseases and infections has also gone done markedly. Another health benefit has been that the use of Biogas as a cooking fuel instead of burning wood has greatly reduced smoke in the Masai homes and as a result the incidence of both respiratory and eye disease has also lessened greatly. The capture and burning of biogas (methane) in the Manyatta means that large quantities of methane (an extremely harmful Green House Gas) are prevented from entering the atmosphere and contributing to global warming. Governors Camp is now raising funds to roll out similar bio-gas plants in other Manyattas and is proud to have been the first to use 21st Century bio-gas technology to solve some very pressing local problems in Masai-land.