As gas builds at the top of the dome, the remaining waste is pushed downward, out of the dome and into the expansion chamber, which is within the wall circumscribing the dome in the picture above. Once the bio-digester has been used long enough that the expansion chamber can be filled, we will be able to expand it into an auxiliary pit where extremely potent fertilizer can be extracted and immediately used in our vegetable garden literally feet away.
In this picture you can see our new bio-digester (left) next to the old pit latrines previously used by our staff and the surrounding community. As you can see, classic pit latrines are dilapidated, poorly constructed, and unclean - our bio-digester is a desperately needed service for the residents of Kibera.
To the left of the bio-digester, Shining Hope has also constructed a 10,000L water tank, which we will connect to a water purification system that will be the only source in Kibera for affordable, clean water.
Our construction has left room for a second floor to be constructed at a later date. This community space will be used for health outreaches, committee meetings, or even club meetings. In this model, a center promoting clean sanitation practices becomes a hub for civil society.
The ground floor of the latrine, being constructed here, holds six toilets, three on each side, which are separated into two different rooms. Each toilet has a separate compartment, allowing for complete privacy. On each side is also a bathing room with piped water. In between the two rooms is a kiosk, where a staff member can sit to manage the influx of residents.
In this picture, you can see the piping on the first level being connected to the dome which lays below the metal wiring. In the background is The Kibera School for Girls.
This entire structure is constructed 15 feet underground, and serves as the foundation for the latrine at ground level. The entire structure is less than 30 feet in diameter.
Our bio-digester will also help fight global warming. The natural methane emissions that it traps in the underground dome structure are converted to CO2 and water, keeping the harmful gas from getting into our atmosphere. It also reduces the demand for kerosene and other fossil fuels that are used in Kibera to light fires.
Umande Trust has built dozens of latrines throughout Kenya, revolutionizing the model for sustainable sanitation. Their latrines are a clean and healthy alternative to the unmanaged expensive pit latrines pervasive in Kibera. The latrine, which we call a bio-digester, collects human waste without requiring sewage infrastructure, and converts it into cooking gas and fertilizer that can be used by the community. They are cleaned and regulated by resident committees, and can also use the space for community
Throughout every step of the construction, Shining Hope employed community residents for every skilled and unskilled job required to make the project successful, including a difficult excavation, the laying of bricks, and construction of the all-important bio-dome. The entire project was developed using locally available technology and local raw materials.