Life and Enviromental Science research in Kenya: Sustainable Green Toilets and Wildlife Conservation

Blog written by Wessex Portal Katie Thompson:

“In April 2017, I visited Kenya with the charity ACEF. I worked alongside a team of engineers to develop a green toilet project at the Brainhouse Academy School, which this charity supports. The school hosts nearly 1000 children in Northern Kenya, Mathare slum. Without the charities support these children would receive nothing from the government as school is not a legal requirement and is often too expensive.

I joined the charity expedition as part of the ‘green toilet’ team to build a biodigester toilet, suitable for the whole community. Currently, the sanitary situation is poor, and faecal waste runs off directly into the water system. Not only will the toilets provide a sustainable solution to the waste problems, the system produces biogas which we will be used to power the schools kitchens, chemistry classrooms and lights. Along with the improvements on the toilet project, we are looking to build ecological water filtration systems to provide food for the local community. There will also be a focus on providing women with sanitation, a key problem throughout Kenya.

In April 2018, I will be leading an education programme in Kenya, focussing on the education element of the toilet programme. I will also be leading the creative projects that focus on art as a mechanism for teaching as well as a conservation day. The programme will highlight the importance of environmental education and awareness, with a conservation day at David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, teaching students how to track animals and learn about key conservation species. This will play a key part in my PhD studies at Bournemouth University.

If you would like any further information or would like to take part in the project, then contact me on”

HEIF project update: Globalisation of The Wessex Portal

Over the Summer of 2017, project manager Katie Thompson has been working to redesign and improve the Wessex Portal to include a global conservation theme. The site has been enhanced to target a global audience, still focussing on key themes such as public engagement but also to include a global conservation section.

This new project was one of the outcomes of a recent visit to Kenya and South Africa by WP manager Katie Thompson, who developed collaboration with a school and charity organisation. These international trips focused on wildlife research and environmental education. Katie Thompson liaised with students and teachers, and is working to initiate an environmental club, with participation from the school. Children from the schools will be able to showcase their work online via the WP website and social media pages. This will be shown in the updated WP ‘Conservation Forum’ section of the website with public input (

An upcoming visit to South Africa next month will aim to build on these relationships, and expand upon organisations to collaborate with and expand outreach to international countries.

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