On a campus that’s twenty kilometers from the nearest town, we can’t ignore the environment. Because we get our water from a nearby river, we have to watch our water usage during the dry season. Because there’s no trash collection service, we have to handle every bit of waste that we produce. With over 150 people to feed each day, we rely on our campus farm to produce fresh, healthy food.
Let’s start with food. Here at Daraja, meals are made of a combination of fresh ingredients from the shamba (campus farm), and additional ingredients (mostly rice and dried beans) purchased from local farmers. Food waste is minimal, mostly eggshells and banana peels. Students take this food waste to the shamba’s compost bins, where it will eventually become organic fertilizer to nourish new crops for campus meals.
Daraja’s commitment to sustainability goes beyond the immediately necessary, such as compost as a waste management technique. Environmental sustainability and conservation is a priority here on campus, and we’re going out of our way to make Daraja as environmentally conscious as possible.
Daraja’s Environmental Club is a student-led group focused on promoting environmentalism and conservation on the campus. With activities ranging from the Daraja Wildlife Project – where students identify bird species using motion-triggered cameras – to encouraging the staff and students to produce less non-compostable waste, the club engages in both environmental education and activism. Faith (Form 3), the chairlady of the Environmental Club, is a passionate environmentalist, and considers Wangari Maathai to be her role model. Her goal is to teach others about the importance of a healthy environment for humans, and described how “it is our living environment — in order to be well, we have to take care of it.”
Additionally, Daraja is in the process of constructing an outdoor classroom, with the support of our partner, the Laikipia Permaculture Centre. Made entirely of locally sourced materials, the outdoor classroom will serve as a space for students to interact with their environment while continuing their lessons, and as a model to inspire further sustainable architecture, both on-campus and in the surrounding areas.
Sustainability at Daraja is a constant work in progress — we are always looking for ways to be more sustainable. With the collaboration and support of eco-partners, such as the El-Karama Lodge and the Laikipia Permaculture Centre, we’re excited for the future of environmentalism on campus. Beyond simply maintaining our environment, we strive to have a positive impact here at Daraja. As Pillar #4 says, each day, leave it better than you found it. Our environment is no exception.