Meet the beneficiaries
The Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS Network) is partnering with Nature Based Community Enterprises (NBCEs) to find sustainable solutions for Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus in Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda. It is in this regard that, in partnership with Bugesera and Rutsiro Districts through Nkunganire Programme, and under a project named “Using Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus to Promote Climate Resilient Decisions and Model Actions in Selected Landscapes Along Akagera Basin", funded by Rwanda’s Green Fund (FONERWA), 86 households (10 in Bugesera and 76 in Rutsiro) were supported to get manure-based biogas cooking systems. The latter was given in a bid to provide an energy alternative to firewood and reduce tree cutting, while improving livelihoods of communities.
The present article presents the interview with some of the beneficiaries. The communities witnessed many benefits from the biogas including its cleanness (smoke-free), time and money saving (abilities), and its user-friendliness. You can watch the testimonies here
“It is the first time for any Kabisasa village member to have biogas; imagine, we used to use grasses and corncobs for cooking but now we have biogas. Now we cook beans and impungure (maize grains) without any problem and our children who used to go to collect firewood under rain are saved, and we are saved from the smoke from firewood,” said Alvera Mukanyangezi, a farmer in Kabisasa village, Mukura Sector of Rutsiro District.
“The money and time we used to spend on firewood is now used to do other activities and buy other domestic utilities such as salt, soap,” added Agnes Muhimpundu, a farmer in Kabisasa village, Mukura Sector of Rutsiro District.
The biogas cooking system is not only providing energy for cooking but also manure. The remaining dung is pushed out of the digester and collected and then mixed with other grasses to produce manure.
Affordable biogas cooking systems can be a sustainable solution to deforestation, adaptation to climate change and a way to improve livelihoods. However, there is still a need to support grassroot communities to get them. For instance, one must have at least two cows to produce enough dung to run a biogas system accordingly. The initiatives that support small farmers to own livestock for energy and soil conservation are key to eradicate poverty in the ever-changing environment. Also, education and capacity building in sustainable agriculture must not be forgotten in all initiatives that aim to empower communities.
The first phase of this initiative targeted two out of six Nature Based Villages (NBVs) established by ARCOS Network, to serve as a model for improving livelihoods and environment sustainability. ARCOS Network will keep exploring opportunities to reach more households and scale up the initiative in as many areas as possible in the region.
If you would like to contribute to and partner with ARCOS Network in this journey, contact as at [email protected] .