By Dhahabu Writer
Airtel Kenya has been named ChangeMaker Company of the Year for Corporate Social Responsibility for Environmental Conservation.
The telecom firm was recognised at the 2015 Bharti Foundation Annual ChangeMaker Awards, because of the effort it dedicates to its Immanuel – Afrika biogas project.
Airtel’s biogas project located in Kikuyu, Kiambu County was commissioned in October 2014. It has been instrumental in alleviating the current pressure on the environment, improving health and sanitation and also reduce costs on firewood fuel consumption.
The ChangeMaker Awards honors companies within the Bharti group that have embedded CSR into their operations and are driving meaningful impact within their countries of operations.
“We are honored to receive this award for the project that has greatly improved the living standards of the children at the I-Afrika Centre, providing a safe, renewable, low cost source of alternative fuel to firewood,”
says Airtel Kenya CEO, Adil El Youssefi.
“We are proud of The I-Afrika Biogas project and its impact on the community and its role in preserving the environment. We are grateful to the Center for giving us the opportunity to partner in this project.”
The Award was presented to Airtel Kenya by Bharti Enterprises Chairman and CEO Sunil Bharti Mittal. Airtel Kenya stated that the biogas firm was a noble course that began as a street boy rehabilitation centre at the height of post-election violence in early 2008.
Currently, the centre is home to more than 150 former street boys who are rehabilitated and enrolled in school or vocational education. Those with families are reconciled and reintegrated, and those without make I-Afrika their permanent home.
The biogas plant has consistently provided renewable and cheap source of fuel – enough to boil water and prepare breakfast for the kids in the morning.
Before adopting the initiative, the centre would spend more than Sh8, 000 on 2 tonnes of firewood per month. Now, the money that could have been used for this expense is being utilised to cater for other critical needs for the children such as School fees.
Further, the plant also benefits by supplying constant fertiliser to the subsistent farms within the vicinity. The bio-slurry removed from the digester at the end of the process is usually used by the organisation as natural fertiliser in their small farm, resulting in better crop harvests.
“The biogas plant is working very well in our home – the bio-digester is large enough to supply the gas to the kitchen for all the children’s needs. We no longer use firewood for cooking, which is an added advantage for the conservation of the environment, as well as being economical for the home,”
explains I-Afrika Director Peter Nduati.
In August last year, the project also received regional recognition for the CSR Initiative of the year at the East African Industry Awards Ceremony that took place in Nairobi.