The benefits are greater than expected

The benefits are greater than expected

Blog
01 Jul 2019

Our colleagues Gert Crielaard and Linda Lap are in India and will travel to Bagepalli where the campus of our other local partner ADATS is located. Here too it is noticeable that the area is very dry in the rainy season. ADATS director Ram Esteves says that the drought has a major impact on the local population. There are families who have to sell their livestock because there is insufficient income. That’s tough to hear.

jonneke-nl

In the coming days we will visit a number of villages to view the progress of the project and speak to the local population. In Besthalapalli we talk to Adilaxmamma, a forty-year-old married woman with four children. Three daughters have been married off and now live in other villages in the area and her son lives with his wife in the parental home, which is common here. Her parents-in-law also live with her. A slightly larger space than the houses we have seen in rural Indian standards with an area for cooking and a separate living/sleeping area.

In the living room where we are received, a meeting is taking place for women from the village who have access to a biogas installation. Every week the women meet to talk about various topics, such as healthcare facilities, children’s education and of course the operation of the biogas plant.

The women enthusiastically tell us about the benefits of using biogas for cooking and the challenges they face. The benefits are much greater than expected and this is mainly due to time savings. Previously, the women spent a whole day in neighboring forests as many as three times a week to gather wood and saw it into smaller pieces. To achieve this, great distances were covered and up to 10 kilos of wood had to be carried home on the head, an enormous burden. Now that no wood needs to be used for cooking, this time can be used to generate extra income. To earn extra money, women, for example, sew leaves together to make plates that are sold at the local market.

In addition, cooking itself also saves time. In the old situation of cooking over an open wood fire, it took an average of 2 hours to prepare a meal. By using biogas, the preparation of a meal is shortened to 30-45 minutes.

jonneke-nl
jonneke-nl

The biggest challenge women face at the moment is the drought in the region. Due to the drought, no crops grow and agricultural activities are not possible. If there is insufficient income, families have to sell their livestock, but they need the manure for the biogas plant. A cow provides enough manure per day to cook for a family of 4-5 people.

Another problem comes to light when we visit the village of Ammagripalli the next day, where a biogas plant is being repaired. The slurry has dried and must be loosened, otherwise the cement of the biogas dome may crack. This problem is solved by an ADATS employee with a large mixer and lots of water. One of the few problems with the very solid biogas installations.

All in all, cooking with biogas seems to be a very good investment for local households. The investment has many positive effects in the areas of health, income, education, local employment, conservation of local forests and biodiversity. People are proud that they cook with biogas. They feel rich.

FairClimateFund always takes the CO₂ footprint of its trips into account as much as possible. We visit our projects a maximum of once a year to discuss progress with our local partners. We always compensate our (project) trips with our Fairtrade Carbon Credits.