Conversation with Fatima Ademoh of Ajima Farms: Waste to Watt

This tweetchat was held on the 18th of August 2016

Fatima Ademoh is the Project Manager of Ajima Farms which also created the Youth Agro Entrepreneurs (YAE) which incubates social enterprises. She works in the Waste-2-Watt Initiative which is solving the energy challenge of off-grid rural communities.

Please tell us a little bit more about Ajima Farm & other social projects you are involved in

We are an integrated farming enterprise based in Kuje, Abuja with strong focus on social innovation. We also run YAE an agro entrepreneurship program for youths. YAE has won multiple global awards.

Why did you decide to get into energy generation? Tell us about the Waste-2-Watts Off-Grid initiative with Eco-Watt?

The poultry section of our farm produces over 3 tonnes of waste which was an environmental challenge for our host community while energy poverty was also prevalent in kuje. We profiled over 260 Off grid communities in kuje alone. we partner with Eco-Watt to create an innovative solution to our problem and the idea of Waste to watts was formed.

What are some of the technologies Ajima farm is using to generate electicity, water and biogas?

Ajima is using Biogas to generate electricity.This involves the anaerobic digestion of organic waste to generate methane gas.

From the support you got from the @USADF, how easy is it to implement energy projects for off-grid communities.

Implementing and adoption of renewable energy projects comes with some challenges i.e choice of appropriate technology, financing, sustainable business model and community engagement. We got funding through @USADF Power Africa Offgrid challenge and we have been able to overcome the other challenges.

The initiative looks to benefit agricultural productivity in Rije comminity; how are you achieving this?

Productivity of the community would be boosted by providing electricity to power machines that increases efficiency of agricultural operations. it would also provide opportunity for the community to build a cooling system to store perishable crop and a milling system.

You intend to expand the initiative to other communities, what are the models you intends to use to achieve this?

By attracting grant, equity and debt financing, and leveraging local resources in the communities and enhancing community partnership.

You are a fellow in the 2016 UC Davis Mandela Washington Fellowship. Please tell us a bit more about that.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is part of president Obama’s Young African Leadership Initiative. The fellowship provided me the opportunity to learn from the experiences of other fellows in other African countries, and gain practical and technical expertise on energy issues this knowledge will be immensely useful as I scale up my project.

What are some of the issues you hope the fellowship programme will help you tackle?

The fellowship helped me gain more insights to issues of energy efficiency, pathways to zero net energy, energy and gender.

How will off grid energy help counter energy poverty challenges faced in Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA)?

We have trained 10 youths from the community on biogas technology and they will be responsible for managing the system. Currently about 600 million people in SSA are without access to electricity, mostly residing in rural areas. Extending the national grid to most of this communities is not economical feasible. Off-grid generation is faster, more cost effective & engages communities in providing local solutions with local resources.

How do you think future energy profile will look? How much impact do you think off-grid generation will contribute?

The future energy profile will be dominated by decentralized renewables, providing the opportunity for the adoption of off-grid generation & mini-grids which presents an opportunity for SSA to leapfrog traditional grid connected approaches to electrification.

Learn more about Fatima and Youth Agro Entrepreneurs