Manna Energy Foundation: Developing Another World in Rural Rwanda
Manna Energy Foundation is installing close to 500 water treatment systems, biogas generators, and high efficiency cook stoves for secondary schools in Rwanda. Manna will fund the venture with carbon credits generated by saving fuel wood. The water treatment plants use gravity filtration systems with solar-powered ultraviolet disinfection to bacterially decontaminate water for safe drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene. Manna will apply UN carbon emission reductions (CERs) for the treatment of this water. The carbon credits are issued since Manna alleviates the demand for firewood to boil water (a common practice for water treatment in Rwandan schools and households).
A liter of treated water in this innovative approach means a liter of water with little carbon foot print. A biogas generator will be used to take human and kitchen waste and capture the methane, which is then used to fuel high-efficiency stoves at each school. The waste effluent is a rich fertilizer and can be sold by the schools as a revenue source. Manna is the first organization to design a project that generates a continuing stream of income through the award and sale of carbon credits and fertilizer, ensuring that schools can maintain the system.
At peak roll-out, Manna will employ approximately 400 Rwandan staff, supplying approximately 236,000 Rwandans (three percent of the population) with clean water and energy. Manna is currently seeking equity investment or loans to Manna Energy LTD, the for-profit company that will own the license to the generated carbon credits. Phase I rollout has a peak requirement of $1.2 million, while the full rollout has a peak financing requirement of $20 million. Manna estimates the complete rollout will generate over $100 million in revenue over 14 years.
With GWC's support and funding, Manna Energy Foundation and Manna Energy Limited have made significant advancements towards providing communities across Rwanda with clean energy and water, while improving education and gender equality. Having employed Rwandan engineers and technicians, Manna has worked in five communities and impacted over 13,000 people. Since November 2008, the organization has completed a prototype water treatment system and constructed numerous clean technologies at schools and communities, including a biogas reactor, high efficiency cook stoves, 7 water treatment systems with 400 committed for the future, and remote monitoring systems for the treatment plants.
In January 2008, Global Water Challenge partnered with Ashoka to host a Changemakers.net competition. "Tapping Local Innovation: Unclogging the Water and Sanitation Crisis," was an online, global, collaborative competition to discover and support local entrepreneurs with groundbreaking approaches to the world's water and sanitation crisis.
The three winners from the competition each received a $5,000 prize. A generous investment grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation (a GWC member) allowed GWC to invest another $1 million in several projects. Based in Houston, Texas, Manna supports economically-sustainable humanitarian ventures. Several of Manna's employees are engineers and managers with the Rwanda projects of Engineers Without Borders-USA.