The Kenya Bureau of Standards launched the Emerging Standards Forums today at the Tamarind Tree Hotel, Langata. The event brought together participants from different industries, consumers as well as the fourth estate. This forum was developed because, KEBS approves, amends, adopts, and reviews various standards every quarter. It is a requirement to share the information of this new changes to the public each time it happens.
The “Emerging Standards Forum” is a quarterly platform that is primed to help the media as well as the end-user/stakeholders to comprehend the newly launched standards and the value that these new standards can bring to business. This platform will provide opportunities to;
- Engage with diverse industry stakeholders.
- Engage with the fourth estate.
- Raise compelling discussions around standards
- Collaborate with stakeholders around ISO adoption.
- Appealing stakeholder-cum-media sessions geared to publicizing the quarterly unveiled approved standards.
In the third quarter of Financial Year 2021/2022 (January to March 2022), we at KEBS have developed and published 205 standards which target a myriad of sectors. The standards are categorized into seven categories which include; Food & Agriculture standards (5), Chemical standards (49), Cosmetics standards (18), Services’ standards (21), Leather and Textile Standards (27), Engineering Standards (26) and Electrotechnical and ICT Standards (59).
All nations globally develop quality standards to generally protect their markets and the safety of their citizens. Quality standards are sets of good management practices, methods, systems, requirements, and specifications established to demonstrate consistent production and product quality. Here in Kenya, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) facilitates the development of standards for promotion of standardization in commerce and industry.
In this quarter’s forum, KEBS highlighted six (6) standards in their discussions that will be used in their different sectors to spur the growth of our industries. The event used panel discussions and audio-visual presentations to enlighten the audiences about the different standards. The Managing Director, Kenya Bureau of Standards, Lt Col (Rtd.) Bernard Njiraini displayed pride in the move to launch these fora. “It is our belief that this platform will create a better understanding of standards and their importance to the country and our day to day lives. May this be a step of inculcating a culture of quality in Kenya.” Said Njiraini. Below is a summary of the six standards showcased at the forum.
KS 2951:2022 Kenya Standard — Biogas systems — Code of practice for farm and industrial scale biogas systems, First Edition.
Biogas is a key pillar of sustainable energy production. In rural areas, Biogas can be used to meet the energy demands as a replacement to kerosene, charcoal and firewood which not only cause environmental degradation but also produce indoor air pollution with a range of health-damaging pollutants such as soot.
However, despite these benefits and promotional efforts, biogas technology has not gained much traction in the country. One of the possible reasons cited for this failure is lack of quality standards that can be used to ensure biogas systems perform as intended.
It is for this reason that KEBS has now developed the above standard to ensure sustained use of biogas in Kenya.
“Biogas systems are complex process engineering plants that place extensive demands on the right planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance. Plant designers, installers and users thus require information on environmental and emission protection aspects and health and safety requirements for the above-mentioned phases. This standard provides guidance on planning aspects, design, construction, operation, maintenance, environmental protection, health and safety,” said KEBS Managing Director Lt Col (Rtd.) Bernard Njiraini.
KS 2925:2022 Kenya Standard — Textiles — Reusable sanitary towels — Specification, Second Edition
The problem of lack of sanitary pads for young Kenyan girls especially from poor families is a huge one. Research shows that 65% of Kenyan women and girls are unable to afford basic sanitary pads. Therefore, girls often rely on unhygienic practices to handle their menstrual cycles. It is for this reason that KEBS has come up with a standard to guide the manufacture of reusable sanitary pads that are safe and affordable for households.
According to KEBS Managing Director Lt Col (Rtd.) Bernard Njiraini, KS 2925:2022 Kenya Standard — Textiles — Reusable sanitary towels — Specification, Second Edition, other than being a tool for trade in products and services, the standard also has Do-It-Yourself (DIY) that transfers knowledge to the local entrepreneurs to develop and provide products that are safe and accessible using the locally available materials.
“Aspects of materials, design and performance form critical part of the standard and is not prescriptive, embedding innovation in formulation and production of the safe, accessible and effective Menstrual Products locally,” said Lt Col (Rtd.) Njiraini.
KS ISO 10545-10:2021 Kenya standard, Ceramic tiles — Part 10
Kenya’s manufacturing sector is of vital importance, contributing approximately 13% to the country’s GDP. This sector is closely tied to building and construction which has been growing enormously in the last decade. Ceramics tiles are a crucial construction material. It is on this basis that KEBS has mooted the development of Ceramics standards, noting that the material plays a significant role in building and construction which ultimately is a cog of economic progress.
According to KEBS Managing Director Lt Col (Rtd.) Bernard Njiraini, the national standards body has approved KS ISO 10545-10:2021 Kenya standard, Ceramic tiles — Part 10: Determination of moisture expansion as one of the standards that will be used to address this concern. “When renovating or building your home, an important aspect you should consider is the material used – whether it’s your bathroom, kitchen, or other living space. Quality tiles that measure to proper standards are a must for you and your family to remain safe and also improve the aesthetics quality of your house,” said Lt Col (Rtd.) Njiraini.
KS ISO 29994:2021 Kenya Standard — Education and learning services — Requirements for distance learning, First Edition
Like Kenya, many governments around the world shut down schools and learning institutions as a measure to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic when it struck in 2020. More than 80 percent of the world’s student population was impacted by these closures, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). In Kenya, UNESCO noted that around 14.3 million learners were impacted by school closures. It is from these troubled times that the concept of distance learning gained momentum and continues to dominate to this very day.
According to KEBS Managing Director Lt Col (Rtd.) Bernard Njiraini, Standardization in this area is quite critical.
“Standardization for this area means harmonizing the practice, Community and Faith Integration, Structure and Interface, Teaching and Learning, Technology and Accessibility, Student Learning Assessment and Support,” said Lt Col (Rtd.) Njiraini.
The goal of the Kenya Standard, is to provide fixed structures and communication protocols for distant-learning objectives. This enables interoperability between applications, by providing uniform communication guidelines that can be used throughout the design, development, and delivery of learning objects. When these standards are incorporated into off-the-shelf products, developers can base their purchasing decisions on quality rather than compatibility.
The KS ISO 22156:2021 To Facilitate Sustainable Bamboo Development
KEBS has approved a standard for Bamboo and rattan. The standard will facilitate manufacturing and trade in quality products as well as ensure consumer safety. “Bamboo industry is a new and exciting industry which investment in can lead to increased growth and employment in the country,” said Lt Col (Rtd.) Bernard Njiraini, Managing Director, Kenya Bureau of Standards.
The KS ISO 22156:2021 gives the specification which bamboo culm should meet to be considered as a structural member. In addition to that the standard gives susceptible classes of bamboo culms when it comes to splitting and how to mitigate the same. The standard guides where the bamboo culms should be used to ensure durability of a structure.
The KS ISO 14064 Standards provide guidelines and requirements for greenhouse gas emissions management
Kenya Bureau of Standards has also approved the adoption of a standard on Greenhouse Gases. The standards provide guidelines and requirements for greenhouse gas emissions management, climate change impact and risk assessment, adaptation planning, green financing etc aimed at reducing greenhouse gases and promoting resilience.
Climate change is arguably the biggest threat to the future of humanity. It is caused by the cumulative effect of greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere mainly because of human activities. The greenhouse gases absorb radiant energy from the earth’s surface and prevent heat from escaping into space, causing the earth to grow warmer (Greenhouse effect).
According to Lt Col (Rtd.) Bernard Njiraini, Managing Director, Kenya Bureau of Standards, long term socio-economic development can only be achieved by safeguarding the environment. Unsustainable exploitation of natural resources and environmental pollution causes depletion of resources, climate change and irreversible loss of biodiversity. “This standard will contribute to the achievement of 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are closely inter-linked to environmental sustainability,” said Lt Col (Rtd.) Njiraini.