Solomon Islands youth wins Commonwealth award for bio-gas projectApril 6th, 2019
Communities around the world are facing waste management challenges that require innovative long-term solutions. Bobby Siarani, one of the winners of the 2019 Commonwealth Youth Awards has successfully led the implementation of one such project in the Solomon Islands. Alphonse Akouyu, 25, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Cameroon now studying in Israel has his story.
If there is one thing which is certain about the 7.7 billion people which the UN says occupy planet earth , it is that they will definitely produce waste. One of the targets of SDG Goal 12 is to substantially reduce the waste we generate by 2030 through prevention, reduction, and recycling .
This was exactly the motivation behind the Bobby Siarani led biogas project in the Tuvaruhu community in the Solomon Islands. The 29- year old is one of the winners of the 2019 Commonwealth Youth Awards for his project, which aims to address organic waste disposal and management in his community in a more innovative way.
According to Bobby, the bio-gas project which is being run by his youth group,Bethlehem Chapel Youth Ministry (BCY ministry) uses technology that works well for the Solomon Islands. He told YourCommonwealth that not only does it address the issue of organic waste management and disposal, but it is also facilitates a natural recycling process which produces an alternative energy (Methane gas, CH4) and solves a major problem facing many families in the Solomon Islands – the absence of cooking gas.
Bobby fondly recalls how the journey all started in September 2017 with a public awareness campaign that attracted over 500 hundred young people. Convinced of the need for project and sure of their vision, the group proceeded to kickstart the project.
The journey hasn’t been a smooth ride for Bobby and the other young people on the project. They were entering into a field where they had no expertise.This did not however deter them as they turned to the internet and started reading about bio digesters.
A bio-digester is an important mechanism used to facilitate the break down and collection of bio-gas when bacteria acts on organic waste and breaks it down .
Despite having some difficult moments, their desire to see change in their community has been their motivating factor for these young people, and in April 2018, despite all the odds, they launched their bio gas production unit.
Today the project is solving the problem of waste, as organic waste is being used to generate clean energy for hundreds of rural folk in the Solomon Islands.
Young people in the community are also learning about the construction of bio-gas generating plants through this project.
The biogas initiative is however just the start for Bobby Siarani . This man on a mission plans to bring big changes to the Solomon Islands through biogas production.
He hopes that the biogas initiative will serve as a major source of youth employment through the different activities in the production chain such as waste gathering, segregation and conversion to bio-gas.
Being the winner of the Commonwealth Youth Awards for the Pacific region has come as a reward for the hard work his team has done. However it also puts more pressure on them to do more. That’s why, they are currently working with a consultant to help them to structure their social business idea to ensure sustainability of their activities while ensuring maximum impact.
Bobby’s plans don’t stop here, however. He also intends to tackle the sanitation problem in rural areas of his country. According to him, about 80% of the people living in rural areas in the Solomon Islands are still without proper sanitation facilities. He wants to address that in a major way so that he can make a difference in his community.
The Commonwealth Youth Awards recognizes and celebrates the achievements of young people like Bobby whose innovative projects are making a significant contribution to their communities and driving change in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.