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Wednesday, 8 June 2016


Greenpact is dedicated to providing clean cooking gas from what many consider to be "waste". Our efforts have been recognised by the international community, and for this reason, Leroy Mwasaru was invited as a panel speaker at the One Young World Summit in Arizona, USA. Here are his experiences:

Leroy's experience representing Greenpact at the Inaugural One Young World Environment Summit




I have been fiddling with the idea of writing this blog post. However, the idea of someone reading this was not plausible. The outright intention of journeying you through this was conspicuous enough, only that I’m the guide.

We are at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi. Since it’s my second international bound trip let’s stare at my boarding passes (now ours) a little longer. It’s real! If you don’t mind, let’s whiz through my texts.

My mum can’t have enough of “Bye!! Safe journey my son!”

I reply with smiley emoticons followed by: ”I’ll be okay, mum. Stay safe!” There is one problem: she doesn’t buy this as more texts stream in. I smile. She is definitely overwhelmed that her son is leaving for a land far away from home. Do you hear our flight number over the PA? You don’t? I’m afraid I’ll leave you here. Let’s board, shall we? Oh, you don’t need a boarding pass because you’re reading this. Have a closer look at these boarding passes- Phoenix via Heathrow. But reality is, we might end up only seeing Heathrow ads, maybe Heathrow cuisines.

We land in Phoenix at 6pm; don’t grin about the flight narration, I slept through it. This warm breeze had a brand of cool that I’m still trying to define. Summer? This is my first summer experience.
My smirk right now is larger than yours.
We have this interesting cab ride to Tucson. I check in at Hilton Tucson and slept off my jetlag through the night.

Thursday,19th May
A seemingly a perfect day as I woke up to the 8th world wonder- sunrise at 4.00am. Do you copy?  I am now summer conscious. ‘Late morning’ is when I met Collectively’s Bethan and fellow Collectively scholarship winner Guro Seim. We prepped for our TEDx style presentations that were due the next day. Later in the evening we moved to Biosphere 2. One thing Tucson taught me in the morning: Chips are not fries; Fries are not chips. Ahem! I guess English really did come by ship, yes?

Cue, Biosphere 2.

Biosphere 2: The world’s largest earth science laboratory, now owned by the University of Arizona, where eight humans lived for 2 years and 20 minutes away from earth -Biosphere 1 experiencing a whole different ecosphere. From my pre-tour of the Biosphere 2, it entailed more than science. A story to back it up to find out if life was malleable outside earth. It was really fascinating that the dining table original biospherians used to dine on is still intact, isn’t it? I, like most delegates stayed at a modest casita near the venue. The welcome dinner was a perfect kick-off to the summit with a wonderful welcome note from One Young World founders, Kate and David.

 
The casita accommodation at the University of Arizona, Biosphere 2.

 Friday,20th May
This day was a pretty intense one. We had the main stage presentations that included keynote speeches and delegate speaker presentations -  my D-day too! We had great speaker line up: Former President of Peru - His Excellency Alejandro Toledo, CNN Meteorologist- Jennifer Gray, Founder and Director of Eco Innovators & Disrupt Design - Dr. Leyla Acaroglu amongst other great speakers. The presentation I enjoyed most prior to mine (Besides, who doesn’t enjoy his/her time on stage?) was Ken Kragin’s ‘Magic of threes’. During his presentation, I came to the realization that he managed a couple of my favorite comedians and doubles up as a legendary pop music manager too. Coincidentally, I wrote three heavy short phrases after thinking I would write loads:

‘Wow factor.’

‘Unexpected.’

‘Unique.’

He then gave his inborn definition of the law of threes and the three recipient needs. True to his word, his presentation was in sync with his subject matter. In between his presentation, there were drumrolls everywhere. Interestingly, as we squirmed in our auditorium seats, they became louder and louder. Guess what it was? The Ironwood High School Percussion team that he trained to claiming the National Champions Title. Taking into consideration that the presentation was right before lunch, this was just the ‘it’-session for that slot.


Ken Kragin’s magic on stage.
 Our panel was at 5pm that consisted of: Founder of Forum for the Future, Environmentalist and Author- Sir Jonathan Porritt, COO of One Earth Designs- Guro Seim and I, co-founder and CEO- Greenpact. Guro and I gave the stories behind the sparking of our startups that are tackling problems facing our societies. Based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback we got from the audience, we did a good job on stage in engaging the audience in our journey. Stay tuned to One Young World’s site for the video.  We also got to meet other great young people doing great things for their communities. From this day’s activities, a couple of things were straight: - Entrepreneurship is a combination of social and economical exchange - Do something instead of shouting about it (be an actor, not the passive audience.) To wrap up this day we had a well deserved block party. It was great getting to familiarize with different party customs. All ended well as I got along with fellow delegates and ambassadors as we partied the night away.
This day facilitated a paradigm shift on the societies’ plights. How I comprehend and empathize with these social causes has taken a complete shift. Probably, a handy tool for Greenpact and my future endavours.

Saturday, 21st May
This Saturday was when we had breakout sessions in respect to the attendees’ interests. I was glad to be part of Collectively’s break out session - “Finding your spark and keeping it.”  Through this workshop we got to change our mindsets from “I’m inspired but overwhelmed” to “I’m inspired and ready”. This was followed by two interactive breakout sessions dealing with environmental & wildlife conservation and one entailing championing of rights of the indigenous communities by Anna Hohag. One important case study we highlighted was of a couple of disruptive innovations making synthetic rhino tusks, all these as we champion for wildlife conservation. The floor remains open for debate. Is this ethical? This day was gold: we got to have in-depth tours of Biospehere 2 and get to actualize how life was possible there. Digging more into the Biosphere 2, we got to realize that ,so , they had their own miniature rainforest, a private beach with a coral reef. They had a savanna, a marsh, a desert. They had their own 50-acre farm that they grew everything. And of course they had their human habitat, where they lived. Let’s visualize this: it takes a five-minute drive to the grocery store to get groceries, though, for the biospherians it took them a great deal of patience with golden Biology. when they breathed C02 that fed the crops that eventually provided some food for them. They were feeding on themselves in some sort of bizarre way.
You and I , living in Biosphere 1 are less conscious about the carbon we produce or release, adding weight to the fact that we designed our systems to kill life- intentional or unintentional- at least for the better part of life. This is in-fact why we are calling for all manner of COP related conferences to try and re-awaken our consciousness.

 
Sekou Andrews on stage at the Closing Dinner at Biosphere 2, Arizona.
 The best wrap up that could possibly be was from Sekou Andrews, an Internationally acclaimed spoken word artist, playwright, actor and poet. From Sekou’s engrossing talk, something was evident: it is his passion that has propelled him beyond his barriers to a point where he now has numerous awards and recognition under his name and works; he continues to spread his inspirational touch to stories, now as a career to company executive boards and also worth President Obama’s attention at Oprah Winfrey’s backyard! This was the best culmination for the three-day inaugural One Young World Environment Summit.


Our way back, three flights. Phoenix-Philadelphia -Heathrow -Nairobi. After this, the perfect definition of me would be, to say the least, a raging ball of energy. And, you may now unbuckle and stretch your legs. We are back to where we started - Nairobi, Kenya.

I trust that I gave you more than a blog: I flew you to Arizona, gave you a free pass to the Inaugural Environment Summit and flew you back. Did someone say ”threes”? There you have it!

For Collectively and team: Thank you for believing in an 18-year-old social entrepreneur.

For One Young World and team:  Receive my sincerest gratitude for giving me more than an experience: here’s to the hope you’ve reignited in me that I intend to share with the world, all day, every day!

Have a look at Greenpact’s premier  video as well as our social media handles on Facebook, Twitter and be sure to have a look at our blog.

Also, you could drop me a line via e-mail: leroy@greenpact.co.ke

Photo credits: One Young World©

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

HWB Solutions comes 2nd at the Ye Community Startup Weekend Competition!



On 20th February 2016, the Young Entrepreneurs community, commonly known as the Ye Community set up a competition for startups, where young entrepreneurs would pitch their ideas to the judges and get a Ksh.50,000 prize in capital funding. Our startup, HWB Solutions, was privileged enough to take part in the event as one of the ten competing startups.

I have to admit, all the business startups were very brilliant, with well laid out facts and strategies for quality of product or services.


Re-union with Innovate Kenya co-founder ,Jacob Lennheden at the iHub

HWB pitching at the Start up Weekend


Tom's insightful pannel discusion at the Ye!Community Startup weekend

Leroy and I got to learn and network with our counterparts in the Startup Weekend such as Supermom, Pataphone, E-masomo and Interncube just to mention a few.
Our startup managed to reach the finals stage and clinch the second position by a vote of the audience and judges.

We also got to meet potential business partners and we are currently networking with them on how to scale the HWB Solutions to the greatest of heights.
Our mission as young entrepreneurs is to create a substantial impact in the energy sector of this globe.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

HWB Team: "Precision in Excavation"
The year 2015 has been an eventful year for our HWB Team, full of many activities and discoveries. we had a chance to present our ideas at the Sankalp Africa Forum, which enabled us to reach investors and fellow innovators from all parts of the globe.
We have made major steps in our project by producing biogas for our school kitchen from a prototype biodigester. and still, we have big dreams.
But big dreams come with stumbling blocks, they say, but I view them as challenges and motivations. We still have the task of designing an efficient toilet which will save as much water, and separate any chemical inhibitors to biogas production such as urine. I am determined, and when we finish working on it, we'll be set to go. OUR SOLUTION

Friday, 1 May 2015

2015 ICEBREAKER


...with mentor (extreme right)and Akaeza from Nigeria(second left)
With Elli Suzuki, Chief Operations Oficer, GMin at Strathmore University.
The first third of the year wraps up with commendable mentorship programmes gone through by the HWB team, as well as progress. Mid-January saw our project being nominated for the 2015 Index Award . Credits to Arielle Mollino who works with Intellecap, on the 6th of February Amos Dede, Charles Midamba and I  presented  our project at Sankalp Africa Summit in Strathmore University graced with  delegates from 25+ countries. This was a distinct opportunity to learn from big company CEO’s who have battled their way to the top ranging from Safaricom’s CEO , Bob Collymore to Stathmore’s University, Elisha Ndungu. We were lucky enough to have Global Minimum’s Chief Operations Officer, Elli Suzuki and 2014 Innovate Kenya’s , Abdallah Mohamed.It was a pleasure to meet with other student innovators eg Akaeza Kpankpondo from Nigeria who invented a Urine Powered Generator.

A screen grab from the Makeshift video on Youtube
Thanks to Makeshift , a premier video featuring our project released  on 23rd  February on their Youtube Channel, special thanks to Alicia who led the team. The video was followed by a media mention after a  phone interview from Alex court from CNN.

With Ariam Mogos, Programme Director, GMin
This month I was at iHub’s community space discussing on how we will take HWB to the next stage  with Ariam Mogos, Global Minimum’s Programme Director filling in for my fellow team mates, Amos Dede and Charles Midamba who were in the National Drama Festivals, Nakuru. Big thank you to everyone who has been inputing their effort into the team to make us prosperous even as we face an accountability partner in November that will shows us life hasn’t started yet_KSCE!
 




Tuesday, 18 November 2014

THE RE INVENTION GENERATION



Greetings to all!

Earlier this month we were graced by Global Minimum to being part of a remarkable panel entailing; Bonolo Matjila- Spiruteens(South Africa), David Sengeh from Global Minimum(Sierra Leone) , Leroy Mwasaru-Human Waste Bioreactor(Kenya),  moderated by Kate Krontiris from Berkman Center for Internet and Society .

 



Having dinner at The Codmother
The experience was uniquely exciting, right from our tiring 16 hour flight from Dubai to San Francisco, all the way diligently served with unending hospitality. Sincere thanks to our chaperone, Mr. Dheeraj Sanka for receiving us from SFO, checking us in at The Ritz, Carlton Half Moon Bay, in addition to treating us with  dinner at the Codmother Fish and Chips. Night life and transport systems in the city- San Francisco was quite fascinating- this gave me some ideas! After the treat we then retired to The Ritz Carlton, which is an hour drive from San Fransisco.




BoLeAriam.jpeg!
Sunday morning marked the beginning of the conference after checking in at the Techonomy desk and getting our tags. We had breakfast at The grill, adjacent to the main block. This was then followed by a briefing session by our chaperone for the day, 
 
Ariam Mogos, unending regards for staying with us through the day!  We set a list of great personalities to meet at the conference, with all that checked, we signed up for morning activities. Unfamiliar with golf I  gave it a try, thanks to Antony- our instructor, I’m your buddy when it comes to chipping and teeing ;-) .After two hours of polishing our skills, the cold had no mercy on my shaky hands we headed to the ball room where we met David Sengeh and Kate Krontiris, the panel was complete! We chatted our evening away to our first session right after dinner, having one of my long awaited speakers in line, Genevieve Belle from Intel Labs, Jack Dorsey for Square & Twitter moderated by James Surowiecki from  Staff Write about- Tech bringing Equality and Peace. Having my take; slow uptaking of tech widens the gulf between the rich and the poor as the rich exploit tech to fetch more as the poor lurk in adject poverty. Hands up to tech bringing equality and peace!

that finalized our day.

D Day
The panel
Monday morning was our D day, with our panel scheduled at 9:30 am. It was really privileged addressing an assembly of great personalities as my inspirations also tapped from within the panel, David Sengeh who challenged me further into my work, academics and life of multi tasking , right from prosthetics at MIT to TEDx events and now a panel member. Responses from the audience right after the audience were encouraging, one key lesson-  You are of great importance to your work and contribution to the community. Perhaps this is where Africa’s youthful generation gets its inspiration to write a chapter in the history of development. And after the panel  was straight to the green room where we got free of the mics!..

Joining a tech lab facilitated by Kate Krontiris, was a very interesting one  entailing- How Civic engagement can be collectively upped by the power of tech and having  protocol of convincing the public into collective action.ie Biometric voting. Backed with great speakers ; Nigel Jacob, Urban Technologist in Residence, Living Cities  Jerry Paffendorf, CEO, LOVELAND Technologies Kathryn Peters, Co-founder and COO, Democracy Works Matt Stempeck, Director of Civic Technology, Microsoft New York . Lucky enough we got to exchange ideas with Matt Stempeck and Jerry Paffendorf, it was a great experience hearing their dimensions of thinking.


Here's my view Sir!
After an exhilarating lunch hosted by Ford,  we joined our last Tech Lab moderated by Dan Elron from Strategy and Corporate Development. With a remarkable set of speakers; Ali Diab, Co-founder and CEO, Collective Health Dane Howard, Director, Global Brand Experience, eBay Scott Sanborn, Chief Operations Officer, LendingClub   Jake Seid, President, Auction.com  .- Will every industry have its own Tesla?-of Companies embracing change driven by every day tech . Business leaders have a task to be the disruptors than disrupted.  Taking this into consideration; German cars are a unique set with great engines and peak performance sadly one has to take it back to its manufacturer for a patch/ update, perhaps there is a great possibility of cars updating automatically over Wi-Fi! With Jake Seid taking auction.com not only 

 

as a lending site but further providing services similar to banking, creating consumer trust in new models. Ali Diab ‘s Collective Health founder+ CEO great sense of leadership is exhibited when he counteract problems into problem motivations- on how Health Insurance companies should handle their insured eg answering phone calls, tone to use and how to reply to them!
 We were lucky enough to enjoy a scenic trail  along the cliff all the way to the beach with Kathryn Peters- founder of Democracy Works and Kate Krontiris - Berkman Center for Internet and Society !
A beach troll with Kathyrn Peters


The conference wrapped itself to an end with an eager live performance from The Fray . David and I vividly remember our  personal touch with them : -) . Thanks to Kate Krontiris  for double casting as a shaperone for  both of us and David Sengeh for unending encouragement and inspiration through the conference. Credits to the Techonomy team for their hospitality. – Tim Charters and company :-) 
Utmost thanks to Global Minimum for the opportunity and  opening our eyes beyond our community in our bid to solve problems!




Then was our long flight back to  South Africa for Matjila and Kenya for me!

 
 
 
 
 
Me and my lenses couldn't resist!
 
 
On our next publish find out what next for the hwb team..!

What next?






Saturday, 23 August 2014

SHINING LIGHT ON INNOVATION

In Kenya, we are not short of ideas, our challenge is the social conventions among the local community that bound the solution among innovative youth.
The path from idea from idea to invention is investment in science ,engineering, technology and design. For many businesses it's a new and daunting route, but when it comes to sustainable growth there is no back road.

As Kenya struggles up the ladder to achieve a developing economy , its efforts are backlashed by its own citizens. In an equal measure foreign aid has helped her citizens and equally instilled dependency among its citizens, it then comes to her citizens that the help does more harm to them.

Through the help of  organizations  namely Global Minimum,Rockefeller Foundation among them have made it possible  for the youth to put their innovative solutions to solve problems engineering them to working solutions. Most important initiating of campaigns through Innovation competitions.

INNOVATION LESSONS FROM DISRUPTORS
Richard Branson -Frustration fueLs disruption
: “Over the years we’ve started many Virgin businesses out of frustration at the way things were done in established sectors. Whether it was airlines, mobile telephones or financial services, we’ve stood out by focusing on ways to improve people’s lives through better service, innovation and value. There is little point in entering a new market unless it provides the opportunity to really shake up an industry. If our entry has the potential to make waves, we’re going to look at it very closely. But we always protect the downside and make sure that we have a way out if things go wrong. If a new business has the potential to damage your brand in any way, you should not invest in it.”




Steve  Jobs- Focus: When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, it was producing a random array of computers and peripherals, including a dozen different versions of the Macintosh. After a few weeks of product review sessions, he’d finally had enough. “Stop!” he shouted. “This is crazy.” He grabbed a Magic Marker, padded in his bare feet to a whiteboard, and drew a two-by-two grid. “Here’s what we need,” he declared. Atop the two columns, he wrote “Consumer” and “Pro”. He labelled the two rows “Desktop” and “Portable”. Their job, he told his team members, was to focus on four great products, one for each quadrant. All other products should be cancelled. There was a stunned silence. But by getting Apple to focus on making just four computers, he saved the company. “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do,” he told me. “That’s true for companies, and it’s true for products.”






Saturday, 28 June 2014

The Human Waste Bioreactor

Our idea which was fostered by Gmin's Innovate Kenya was as a result of the  following upcomings;





 




CHALLENGE

>The school's newest dormitory was completed and it has a capacity of  720 students . The local community held protests against the completion of the dormitory as the villagers constantly complained about the stench coming from the  sewage  disposal from the dormitories.
> Lack of water currently in the new dormitory sometimes leads to immense blockage  in the  waste disposal system, this waste also overflows to a nearby river which acts as a vital source of water thereby polluting it and consequently its dependants' clean water.



PROBLEM MOTIVATION


The challenge is important because it motivates us students to think of amicable solutions to the problem. It is a practical problem that is felt and seen by all and therefore needs a practical approach in solving it.The promotion project has the capacity to address energy, health, ecological problems and can be considered as a multi dimensional development approach in Kenya.



Major insipirations  for the production of biogas were political, social , agricultural , environmental , waste recovery and in energy.
-Political: Kyoto Protocol, European Union , National Legislation
Environmental: Reduction of biological and organic wastes
-Agricultural: Waste treatment to obtain fertilizers.
-Waste recovery: Production of new products from waste.
-Social: Boosting the local market
-Energy: Replacement of fossil fuels to local resources.



 PROPOSED SOLUTION


The human waste bioreactor will be a simple plant dug into the ground with a latrine and a solid waste outlet. This also makes gravity feed of the system much simpler.







OUR BREAKTHROUGHS


After our first camp we were solicited with some funds to come up with a
prototype , we therefore came up with a simple prototype,
 
 
 



Optimistic about our idea, we drafted calculations on how our project would save the school economically wise, picture this:


>In one term, the school uses 28 Lorries of wood fuel each 7 tonnes.
>This is equivalent to 2,940,000 KJ of energy.
 In order to get this amount of  energy;

  1 gramme of methane= 0.055 KJ of energy
  53 tonnes of methane per term= 2,940,00kj of energy
  1 term=14 weeks, therefore
  1 day= 0.54 tonnes of methane


if 1 kg of human waste gives 0.0012m3 0f methane then 540 kg of  methane requires 1,080 kg of waste
If 1,300 students give 200g each of human excreta per day then 260 kgs waste will be produced daily. This is equivalent to 130kgs of gas per day.



If 13 kg of LPG cooking gas costs Ksh. 4,000 daily thus saving the school Ksh.3,920,000 if the school was to use gas from our digestor.







After our second camp, we were able to purchase a digestor  courtesy of Innovate Kenya under Gmins' stewardship.
 
The digestor was affixed to the school kitchen to a gas stove with a meter reading to monitor gas levels.
 
 



Soon after the installation of the digestor we embarked on feeding it, this entailed collecting cowdung from the school farm and  collecting food refuse after meals.
 
 

 
 
 



The waste would then be mixed in appropriate ratios with water for optimum production  of the gas.









As soon as there is stable supply of the gas, we hope to avert the dangers that come with using firewood to cook as it remains the source of fuel for the kitchen , clearing our forest cover day by day.


 

 





I am glad that the same project was applied in our  rural home ,Taita Taveta, near coast strip, the plant underway will harvest waste from 10 Freshian cows in a zero grazing unit that was initially put to waste, it is my pride that the project will put to perfect use the waste from cows to produce cooking gas for the village, It can also be used in lighting and generating electricity.


The rural home project is underway, the pictures shows its initial phases of construction:
 
 
 










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