Tanzania: Msasani School Students Convert Waste to Biogas

For the pupils of Msasani Primary School, the experience of being introduced to bio gas procedure from toilet waste is exciting. A standard four pupil, Hanifa Hassan told Young Citizen that this endeavour came as a surprise to her.

"This is a fun thing. The professionals who came to teach how the process works said that our waste can generate gas that can be used for domestic needs such as cooking and lighting. In the beginning, it sounded like a dream," she said.

Many of the pupils couldn't understand and digest the concept when they were explained theoretically. "Today we witnessed two things. First of all we now have improved sanitation and access to better toilet and secondly, we saw how the waste from these lavatories generated gas," Hanifa added.

Bio gas technology seems to be more popular nowadays. Different experts discover several types of biogas materials. From those which originate from food waste and animal faeces. As time goes on these experts penetrate into societies to introduce them to such technologies. Such is the example of Msasani Primary School, where Bollore Africa Logistics introduced Biogas project and building of proper lavatories and bathrooms for students to improve the school's sanitation.

Speaking about toilet, the pupils of Msasani primary school did not hesitate to explain how happy they were to have access to better toilet services.

"I remember one day when I was going behind the old toilet building and I cut my leg with a broken glass," said Ally Mohamed, a standard seven pupil. Ali was among the pupils who were forced by the situation to use the surrounding bushes in the neighbourhood. It was especially horrific for small standard one and two pupils.

Speaking to Young Citizen, Msasani Primary School Head Teacher, Egidius Mjunangoma said that it was a disaster, because the situation would end up with pandemic diseases like cholera and diarrhoea.

"Our school was built in 1956. So there was an issue of worn out parts of the building. Apart from class rooms, toilets were in a bad condition. We have more than 700 pupils and we had only ten toilets, of which not all were accessible," he said.

According to a survey by United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), 87% of Tanzanians do not have access to improved sanitation and in the government primary schools in Dar es Salaam, the pupil latrine ratio is 200 pupils to one latrine.

Msasani Primary School suffered the same problem.

Director of Bollore Africa Logistics in Tanzania Regis Tissier said, "We invested approximately Sh35 million into the biogas technology which also takes care of energy aspects of the school."

The biogas system eradicates almost all contagious diseases.

In their speech, Msasani pupils stated that they were supposed to come with firewood. The smoke produced during cooking was affecting their health. The whole project has big benefit to them, in terms of health and environment.

The guest of honour Vice Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Industries, Trade and Investment, Engeener Joe Malongo said that the biogas project will encourage the pupils to learn science practically. "Learning things practically is the best way for pupils to be the good experts. My advice for teachers is to make sure many such science projects are applied in schools for the benefit of our children," he insisted.

Source: The Citizen