Everybody should get a biogas plant

14 maart, 2011

The Uganda Domestic Biogas Programme (UDBP) used women’s day to award some of its beneficiaries and partners; and on their turn received an award for their contribution to women’s empowerment. The ceremony took place at the grounds of one of UDBP’s partners, a women’s group called Gabula Atudde, in Mukono.

Ms. Margaret Nakiwala, a widow, gave a public testimony what biogas has meant for her. With biogas she can cook easily and she doesn’t have to look for firewood anymore. The slurry is used on her vegetable garden, where she already sees the benefits in increased production and less plant diseases. She can even sell vegetables now when before she was using all for consumption of herself and the children.

Ms Nakiwaka picture by Els Rijke

Get one as soon as possible
Ms Nakiwala calls upon the ones that do not have a biogas plant yet, to get one as soon as they can. Her enthusiasm for biogas makes her a perfect promoter. For her communication skills, credibility, and the number of new clients that she brought to the programme, she received a certificate for best female promoter. The certificate came with a bicycle which she can actually use in her promotion activities. Not only ms Nakiwala is a great promoter. The founder of Gabula Atudde, the 84 year old Mrs Luyombya Christina Bukirwa, is a biogas user since 13 years and it is her passion to bring the other members on board as well.

Biogas is primarily benefiting women, as they are the ones cooking and looking for firewood. The different national biogas programmes have to take an effort to make women real beneficiaries of all programme areas though. Efforts go from encouraging men to take on certain “female” tasks in the household, as well as training women to become biogas entrepreneurs.
UDBP received the first award on promoting women’s empowerment through biogas. This award was given out by Hivos because of the outstanding efforts taken by the programme as well as the results so far. The Ugandans have taken the aspect of promoting gender equality serious and have paid attention to this issue from the beginning. The programme ensures that both women and men are trained in each household on the use and maintenance of the digester, it walks an extra mile to get women into masonry, it has set up partnerships with women’s groups and it has a focus on constructing plants at female headed households, among others.

The results after one year are encouraging, but Uganda is not yet there. The award was given to UDBP to strengthen them in their efforts and to motivate the other country programmes that are also on their way. On women’s day in Uganda, awarding female and male users, promoters, and masons showed that this encouragement means a lot to people. On their way out, after the ceremony, people that missed the boat talked enthusiastically about the awards, wanting to win the same next year.

Author: Els Rijke, Socio-economic and gender expert Biogas Programma, Hivos

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