“This is Real!” Biogas Queen Affirms.
A passionate and smiling Lilian Lelei sums up her engagement as a mason in three words, “biogas is real.” Working as a mason since 2005, Lilian started her own biogas construction company six years later employing four other masons to her now expanding business. But Lilian is not an ordinary mason in the field; she is a trained biogas mason and entrepreneur, the new breed pushing renewable energy in Kenya a notch higher.
Working closely with other masons in the area, Lilian has created a successful network that sees her never run short of construction contracts. “They will call me and cede some plants to me when they are overstretched. I also reciprocate. Our goal is not just to construct as many plants, but to ensure they are functional and meet the programme specification and quality standards, otherwise I will keep repeating the same plant and lose clients” she says. A one year guarantee is given to all plants constructed under KENDBIP.
Lilian plans to expand her biogas construction enterprise to other regions outside North Rift in the coming year. She is also and a student of theology at Sitotuet Bible College in Kericho “ I am not studying theology to abandon this industry, am doing it to know God better and get skills to relate with the people at the grassroots, and understand their needs even better,” she smilingly reassures to remain a mason and businesswoman in a programme that meets her tuition and personal needs. Empowerment of women like Lilian, through gender mainstreaming, is part of the programme. Deliberate efforts to maximize benefits among women at all levels are made through training and capacity building.
Encouraging more women to join the programme, Lilian sees the benefits of biogas as more empowering to women and children through sanitation and reduction of workloads, while providing clean and renewable energy. Improvement of agriculture through use of bio-slurry in the fields is another added benefit provided by biogas technology.
And there are no regrets for this mason, marketer, business lady and theologian whose motto, everything is possible, sees her traverse a territory many women have shied away from. “I want to look back and say my people have benefited,” she signs off hurrying to seal another construction contract in Marakwet, an area she rules as the biogas queen.