Credit for Collection of 31,000 ltrs of Used Oil.

by EPS Program

We proceed to the the slums of Nairobi south, and here we find a 20 footer container, the social worker opens it and tells me that this is where they store the oil before safe disposal. From here we move deeper into the slum and along the way we bump into the village elder for this area, who is full of praise for the project.

He sites the number of families that are benefiting from the project by collecting even small quantities and delivering to the storage place.

So we visit Mr Evans Mikako, who runs a small laundry place deep inside that slums. He is a perfect example of those who are not motor mechanics, but have been collecting and delivering small quantities to the storage place. After many months of commitment, he had delivered enough that earned him a loan of ksh. 80,000. He invested in the laundry business and also purchased a couple of rental houses in the slums. He owes his shift from rugs to riches to EPSP. After repaying his first loan, he was also able to get a second loan of ksh. 50,000 that he invested in a second business that the wife is managing.

We left this slum and headed west, where i found a huge open air garage with so many artisans, but all with differnt skills. This was more of a group business with a management committee. I was introduced to the officials. Suddenly a crowd gathered, each and every one of them wanted to say something about EPSP, to my surprise, every one who opened their lips was full of praise. One guy pulled a huge machine and wanted me to see.

"So what is this?" I ask. In a some kind of a chorus, they say it is a paint praying machine. We earned this form the oil we had collected. We see our garage is near a river, if all that oil had been poured out carelessly, it would have polluted the river. We did not waste it either, EPSP taught us how to benefit from it and now we have this machine.

This garage alone has employed over 60 youths. As we left, a couple of them dropped their work overalls and headed for lunch. They called it a business lunch. They were meeting new clients over lunch. As the sound of spanners and hummers faded from my ears, I thought to myself and which I want to share with you - truly this is a unique project that can save the world from global warming.

============================= An interview:

We visited Sila Nzioki of Kituli Engineers which is an informal garage very near the offices of EPSP and he had the following to say:

" I have been working here for yen years, I am providing employment to 10 people." I notice a blue drum at his garage which is in the open, but the drum is secured with metal bars and secured on a cemented ground with bolts. What is here? I ask.

"This is where we store the used oil and when it is full which takes a bout two and a half months then the project team collects it and fixes and empty tank nad process starts again. We have an account with EPSP where records are maintained and after we have filled three drums, the organizations tropples that and then grants us credit which we pay back by filling more drums of used oil. So far we have managed to purchase tool kits valued at Khs. 13,500. We used the oils as collateral and have so far completed the repayments.

We have also received training and visitors who come and encourage us and at time buy us lunch.

The challenges that we face is operating in the open air. If EPSP could get some grants to construct shelter for us, we would get better returns from our work. We are appealing to donors to support EPSP, I ask him why? and he casually responds, "they are our life line."

============================ Download and read the full evaluation. Here is an excerpt:

"The major lessons: This project not only conserves the environment, but creates livelihoods for mechanics. Waste can be used for wealth creation. The project is easy to replicate."


Kara Wevers is a student who traveled throughout Africa and visited a number of GlobalGiving projects. On March 16th she visited "Credit for Collection of 31,000 ltrs of Used Oil." When asked what she would tell her friends about this project, she said: "Incredible: You need to see this!"

I recently had the opportunity to visit Collins Apuoyo and his team at EPS Program in Nairobi. Within minutes, I was thoroughly impressed with their innovative approach toward environmental conservation, poverty reduction, and micro-lending. We spent time in their office, and we also went around town visiting the mechanics that they work with, as well as their used oil collection center.

The mechanics had nothing but praise for the EPS Program. Again and again these men spoke about the impact that Collins and his team were having on their businesses, giving them additional income, environmental training, and access to micro-loans that they otherwise never would have had. According to one mechanic, "Nobody else is doing this. Nobody else is helping us.”

Some of these men – many whose livelihoods are based on haphazard shops set up illegally on the sides of the streets – had recently seen their roadside businesses demolished by government bulldozers. EPS Program is hoping to help them generate enough income and saving s so that they can rent or buy land for permanent shops. Hats off to EPS Program for investing in a community that has otherwise been forgotten!

We are now in the sixth month since our project joined global giving. We appreciate all donors who have provided us with the resources that have enebaled us to make progress.

Since April 2009, we have been able to collect an additional 3,100 litres of used oil. This has been recycled and sold to end-users. We have managed to get 8 additional garages to set up used oil collection facilities as well. On average these will be giving us 240 litres of used oil per month.

During the same period we have given 3 small loans to mechanics. This brings to a total of 4 small loans given to mechanics who are involved in safe collection of used oil. These loans have been used for various purposes.

During this period as well, we have faced some not-very-encouraging challenges. Three garages that have worked with our programme since 2005 closed down due to low business. Three other businesses that have received loans from EPS in the past have also folded up. The main reason - poor business!

Some exciting news though; EPS has benefited from two unique support;

1. We have had support from Volunteers from Harvard Business School who have helped EPS to set up a new website that is more interactive. Thanks to Dennis DiDonna for his committment that has enabled us to have this new beatiful website. For more info visit

2. We have also obtained financial support from a Charity Auction conducted at the Harvard Business School of $2,200. We wish to thank all those who participated in this for such a kind gesture. many thanks to Shelby Clark for his continued efforts. this money will go towards giving small loans to mecahnics and other collectors of used oil.

We will be loading project photos in a couple of days so stay tuned.

EPS Program has set out to safely collect and recycle 31,000 litres of used engine oil. We have also set out to enable 70 individuals involved in the used oil collection to access low cost loans/credit over the next one year.

Since starting to raise funds on GlobalGiving website, we have so far been able to achive the following results:

1. We have so far collected and recycled 2,700 litres of used oil. The recycled oil has been sold off to re-users and th revenue generated used to build up a credit fund. 2. We have been able to sign a partnership agreement with one used oil recycler. This partnership assures us of a certified outlet for 1500 litres per month. 3. We have established 12 additional used oil collection facilities in garages in Nairobi. This will enable 12 mechanics to safely collect usd oil and deliver to our facilities for recycling. 4. We have given loans/credit to two (2) individuals. The total loans given adds up to US$1,346. One of the recipients of the loans has diversified into laundry business, while th other has used the mney to build low cost rental houses in the Mukuru slum. 5. We have used part of the funds to meet operational costs of collecting and recycling used oil.

Overall, the progress is commendable. We trust that we will be able to raise the rest o the funds to enable us to achieve the targets we have set.


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Organization Information

EPS Program

Location: Nairobi - Kenya
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Collins Apuoyo
Nairobi, Nairobi Kenya

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