Project in Detail
Community Cooker/ Jiko ya Jamii
Planning Systems Services Ltd, Nairobi, Kenya
World Architecture Festival 2008 - Category Commendation
Community cooker in use
The Community Cooker: Jiko Ya Jamii
In many developing countries Local Authority refuse collection and responsible disposal has ceased.
Where refuse collection continues it is generally in the hands of private companies who charge for their services. These collection costs are far beyond the budgets of lower income communities, and so in these very vulnerable areas refuse piles up in heaps, along pathways and roadsides, on open ground and in storm water drains and rots, where it is biodegradable. The rest is forever a blight on the landscape polluting the air and the ground water, and being picked over by cows, chickens and goats, which ultimately are food for their lower income owners.
Where refuse collection is in the hands of commercial refuse collection organizations it is very often disposed of irresponsibly. Dumped over open green hillsides where it slides down into the valleys and so into our fresh water systems. Where refuse is still, on very rare occasions, collected by Local Authorities it is usually carted to massive refuse dump sites, where crude recycling is a dirty and risky business, often in the hands of cartels. What is left at the end of this process either rots, and oozes into the ground, polluting the ground water or cannot decompose, and so it is there forever.
This is known as Civilization!
“Civilization” has, also, produced massive refuse incinerators that can provide heat and power – but at huge expense – way beyond the budgets of towns and cities in the developing world, let alone villages and informal slums. In addition these incinerators create problems of their own in terms of refuse vehicles and their disposal queues, and the build up of unprocessed refuse at incinerator plants. These problems, overtime, can and will be overcome, but massive incinerators at 50 million dollars each are not commercially realistic for our lower income world, and the years of “subsidy” for the financially disadvantaged seem to be long ago over.
Low income people today in both urban and rural areas are increasingly going without cooked food. Many have never ever washed in hot water! Traditional fuels of wood and charcoal are scarce and expensive, whilst paraffin and gas are financially out of reach. Those at the bottom of the income scale suffer in silence.
There is a solution: The Community Cooker. These very simple cost effective units are built and operated by local communities for their own benefit, and to their own advantage.
Based on the principles that nobody will do anything worth while for nothing, and that money is so often badly managed, the Community Cooker operates on a zero cash system.
The prototype Community Cooker is now operational at Laini Saba in Kibera, located in the capital city of Kenya- Nairobi.
The operational basics are as follows:-
• Most refuse can be converted into heat.
• If lower income people see a pile of rubbish as a cash free way to cooking a meal and/or heating water they will be motivated to collect that rubbish and carrying it to their local Community Cooker.
• At the Community Cooker they swap their bag or sack of rubbish for a plastic token. This token they then take to the other end of the Community Cooker where that token provides them with “X” amount of cooking or water heating time at zero cash cost, only the effort required to collect and cart the rubbish. (People are, already, beginning to look on piles of rubbish as a valued commodity!).
• At the refuse collection end of the Community Cooker the refuse is manually sorted, and recyclable materials are put into bins for collection. The rest is manually stacked, with spades and forks, onto a series of drying racks. This process is deliberately labour intensive in order to create work.
• Dry and/or semi dry refuse is then shoveled into a refuse chute, where it slides down towards the fire box. Here it is combined in a very simple process where discarded sump oil (another polluting waste product) is combined with vaporized water in minute (droplet) amounts to raise the heat within the fire box to a point where all incoming refuse burns very efficiently, (so efficiently that the steel fire boxes have had to be lined with kiln quality fire bricks to prevent the steel from melting!). One must note that the heat is high enough to burn most of the toxins before emission.
• The end products are:-
• Zero cash cooking Frying.
• Water heated cash free.
• Water boiled cash free.
• Motivated local Community Cooker operators will operate these Cookers free of charge for their local community between the hours of (say) 6.00a.m to midnight and operate from midnight to 6.00a.m., when they will bake bread, cakes and pies and heat water for sale, for their own financial benefit.
Planning Systems Services Ltd
Client / Developer
Mr Donald Kilindi
Ushirika Wa Usafi Wa Laini Saba - Kibera
000 254 728895659
Mr Mumo Musuva
Planning Systems Services
000 254 20 4180650/1/2
Mr Donald MacGillivray
East African Maritime Services
000 254 41 476071/2
Mr John Asanya
The Community - Ushirika Wa Usafi Wa Saba
000 254 720 069472
Mr Josiah Omotto
000 254 20 6751287
Ms Jo Da Silva
000 44 207 636 1531