Phaung Daw Oo monastic school, Mandalay
The Phaung Daw Oo monastic school is a large and well-organised monastery and education center in Mandalay. It is home to up to 10,000 students, monks, teachers and volunteers – and most meals are cooked and served on the campus. The monastic school strives for excellence, but finding a good solution to make their waste management more sustainable hasn’t been easy. They asked us to help them set up a bokashi composting system at the monastery.
Our team spent a week there in August 2020, and the monks and students were really motivated to help set up the system and make it work long-term. We explained to everyone about organic waste and the value of giving it back to the soil to grow new food – then together we set up specific bins in the kitchens and around the temple for food waste, recyclables and general waste.
Up to four tons per month of food waste is now separated in the kitchens and taken to the new waste management center and transferred to bokashi barrels. After a week’s fermentation, it is taken to the new compost stacks and layered with dry leaves from the compound. After two months, it all becomes rich living soil, ready to fertilise the gardens.
The students and monks were all keen to learn more, so Inda and the team ran a number of classes talking about climate change, soil pollution, waste management, air pollution and organic food. Quite a lot to take in, but the students were excited to learn. When covid has settled we will go back to follow up on the processes and lead more classes to share this important knowledge.
The monastery is now rolling out the bokashi process to its other monasteries in Mandalay, and we are hoping these new methods will spread from there.