WAITRO Network Ignites Sustainable Solutions to Tackle Environmental Challenges in Kenya

James Devitt of the University of Huddersfield (UK) and Prof. Joshua Abuya of Kibabii University in Barcelona, Spain.

In an inspiring display of global cooperation, the WAITRO network has sparked a transformative partnership aimed at addressing pressing environmental issues in Kenya. The genesis of this initiative can be traced back to the WAITRO Summit 2022 in Barcelona, where Prof. Joshua Abuya of Kibabii University, Kenya, and James Devitt from the University of Huddersfield, UK, converged with a shared vision to confront agricultural waste challenges.

Recognizing the substantial environmental impact of sugarcane waste in Kenya, the partnership swiftly acknowledged the imperative for action. The unmanaged disposal of this waste presents grave risks, including greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution. However, armed with innovation and collaboration, the team perceived an opportunity to convert this challenge into a solution.

With pivotal backing from Innovate UK, the project gained traction, securing funding to propel its endeavours forward. Teaming up with Carbon Footprint Ltd., they embarked on a mission to optimize the conversion of sugarcane waste into clean cooking fuel, aiming to improve health outcomes and mitigate harmful practices such as illegal logging for charcoal production.

By instituting a pilot program inspired by the UK's successful Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, the team facilitated partnerships between African universities, companies, and seasoned UK university mentors. This initiative, generously funded by Innovate UK, not only spurred the development of sustainable solutions but also fostered cross-border cooperation and knowledge exchange.

The project's impact transcends waste management, offering economic prospects for local communities and advocating self-sufficiency. Prof. Abuya underscores the palpable enthusiasm within Kibabii University, recognizing the project's potential to catalyze a ripple effect extending far beyond Kenyan borders. He envisions a future where waste metamorphoses into a fount of opportunity rather than a liability, charting the course for a brighter, more sustainable world.

This extraordinary partnership, buoyed by the strength of the WAITRO network, epitomizes the potential of global collaboration to instigate meaningful change.


Article by Nyokabi Wanjiku