Airtel Kenya has been named ChangeMaker Company of the Year for Corporate Social Responsibility for Environnemental Conservation at the 2015 Bharti Foundation Annual ChangeMaker Awards.
Airtel Kenya received the highest honor (Gold) for its significant efforts to help in environmental conservation through the Immanuel Afrika’s (I-Afrika) biogas plant in Kikuyu, Kiambu County. The project that was commissioned in October 2014 was recognized for its efforts in alleviating the current pressure on the environment, improve health and sanitation and also reduce costs on firewood fuel consumption at the Centre hence saving it thousands of shillings that could have been used on Gas and coal.
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. The Award was presented to Airtel Kenya by Bharti Enterprises Chairman and CEO Sunil Bharti Mittal.
Immanuel Afrika (I-Afrika), a street boy rehabilitation Centre started during the height of Kenya’s post-election violence in early 2008. Currently the Centre is home to more than 150 former street boys. Located in the outskirts of Kikuyu Divison, in Lusigetti town, the organization aims to rehabilitate street boys and enroll them in school or vocational education. Those with families are reconciled and reintegrated, and those without make I-Afrika their permanent home.
Since the Biogas plant was commissioned at the Centre, it 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 Ksh. 8, 000 on 2 tonnes of firewood per month. Now, the money that could have been used for this expense is being utilized to cater for other critical needs for the children such as School fees.
There are other benefits, too. The bio-slurry removed from the digester at the end of the process is usually used by the organization as natural fertilizer in their small farm, resulting in better crop harvests.
“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,” Airtel Kenya CEO, Adil El Youssefi said. “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 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.