Nadege Iradukunda

  • Year Selected: 2012
  • Age at selection: 18
  • Venture: UYRD Biogas Digesters
  • Country: Rwanda
  • Sector: Energy
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Nadege’s story is a remarkable transformation of waste to food. As a student in southern Rwanda, Nadege noticed that many students struggled to pay the additional fees that schools required to cover the high costs of cooking food for students. Schools spent a significant proportion of their budgets on firewood for cooking meals. Wood stoves also increased deforestation, soil erosion, and respiratory illnesses among kitchen workers. To meet this acute need, Nadege developed a solution that used a proven technology.

Nadege found that Rwanda’s prisons used biogas to use instead of wood in cooking and saved 40% in energy costs. Armed with this knowledge and a desire to make a difference, she joined forces with others in the United Youth for Rwandan Development to get more schools to adopt biogas energy. The team developed the Biogas Digester Plants (BDP) project that buys, assembles, and deploys biodigesters in secondary schools. An additional advantage of using this renewable energy source was decreased deforestation and soil erosion.

The BDP project has deployed 15 bio-digester plants, each 10 – 15 cubic meters. This has inspired other schools to follow suit to reduce their operating costs. These reduced costs have also made school more affordable to students who may not otherwise have been able to attend school. Nadege and her team aim to cover all the schools in Rwanda