By Joseph Mudingu
It is lunch time at Gasabo prison; inmates, back in the confines of prison walls donning orange and pink uniforms are hurrying to be served their second meal of the day; boiled maize grains, beans and an assortment of locally grown vegetables.
The meal for the 5000 inmates was prepared using 12 stoves powered by biogas produced from the biogas plant at the prison.
Using biogas digesters to manage animal or human sewage is not a new idea, but in Rwanda, it has been applied on an enormous scale, and with great success and impact.
As a result, Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS) has been awarded by the International Correctional and Prison Association (ICPA) for its efforts in using biogas to combat environmental degradation.
The award ‘ICPA Correctional Excellence Awards 2015-Correctional Healthcare Award-Rwanda Prison Service- Biogas Project’ was handed over to RCS Deputy Commissioner General, Mary Gahonzire, during the 17th ICPA annual general meeting in Melbourne, Australia.
While accepting the award, Gahonzire remarked that the moment was much bigger than the institution she represents and that it was for the people of Rwanda and as a result of good governance in her country. She added that, RCS established its biogas production facilities to alleviate current pressure on the environment improve health and sanitation in prisons and also reduce costs on firewood fuel consumption in prisons.