51-year-old housewife Mumbi Kinyua calls herself an environmental conservationist. Representing farmers from her community at the Ministry of Agriculture in Kenya, Mumbi has been able to capitalise on her position to champion the use of biogas in engendering good and sustainable agricultural practices.
‘’I am an empowered farmer who now calls herself an environmentalist. Biogas has simply changed my life, and it all began in 2010 when I installed a bio-digester on my farm. Balancing household and farm duties has never been an easy task. I used to collect firewood every morning to prepare meals and later I would tend to the farm. Since I began using the bio-digester, I’ve realised what a tedious burden I carried and how easily that could have been avoided. Thanks to the bio-digester, I no longer have to buy fertilisers, my farm’s soil is healthy and I now practise organic farming.
Now as a responsible citizen, I am inspired every day to transform my community into a green village. The environmental resources we currently have globally are quite meagre; if someone like me doesn’t do something about it then I am worried my grandchildren will no longer have clean air and food in 30 years to come. This is one of the many reasons why I have taken up this cause and advocate for the use of biogas in Limuru. Through a series of outreaches and trainings, I have empowered women in my community to adopt biogas as a precautionary measure to preserve the environment and also lift them out of poverty.
My husband has been quite supportive; we have both been keen to scale up gender inclusion as a best practice in agriculture. However, this is not a norm that men in my community are willing to adopt. I have gotten a lot of pushback in my biogas outreaches, where not all women feel comfortable to implement lessons learnt, and a lot of them are not even allowed to attend meetings. These challenges have only given me windows of opportunity to continue doing my work and not lose hope.
Hivos East Africa’s Africa Biogas Partnership Programme has given a voice to women like me to better the world we live in. Biogas has given me two experiences: power and empowerment. This fills me with resolve to change my community and be part of the change movement of greening the world.