Biogas improves gender equality in RungweJul 12, 2017
The Ilolo ward in Rungwe District is historically one of the greenest areas in Mbeya Region. However, the area is currently threatened by environmental degradation particularly soil and and land degradation which is primarily driven by deforestation.
To address this challenge, UNDP in collaboration with the local NGO called HIMARU introduced a biogas project with aim of addressing the underlying driver of deforestation which primarily energy for cooking in the form of charcoal and firewood. The project is implemented in six ward namely Kiwira, Bulyaga, Msasani, Iponjola, Kyimo and Syukula wards.This project has brought a lot of positive changes among community members in Rungwe district particularly in wards where the project is being implemented. It had reduced the burden on women who used to walk up to five hours every morning in search of firewood for cooking, thereby exposing them to risks including physical and sexual abuse.
A visit to Ilolo ward witnessed not only happy faces but also excited and proud faces of Ilolo communities appreciating the joy the UNDP project has brought in the area. It has changed household energy equation within a short period. Introduced in August 2016, the project had by the end of 2016 installed 40 operational biogas plants that were being used as alternative to charcoal and firewood in 40 households. The project’s target is to install 60 biogas plants by the end of 2017.
The different beneficiaries consulted all made positive comments about the project, urging for a scale up of the same. Ms. Matilda who’s one of the beneficiaries in Ilolo Village made the following remarks,
This project has played a laudable role in our lives. Previously, you would not have found me at home this time as I would be out there collecting firewood.
Matilda lives with her husband, Mr. Paul Mwasomola, who also admitted that the introduction of biogas technology in the area has vastly improved their lives.
Another beneficialry Mr. Julius Mwansasu of Kiwira could not resist to express his excitement and appreciation over the project noting the following;
Biogas stove help me to cook food for my children when other members of the family are engaged in other livelihood activities
Mr. Paulo Mwasomola, another project beneficiary, confessed to having undergone a behavioural change after his biogas energy system started to operate.
There has been a big change in roles, especially during milking cows in the morning. I no longer disturb my wife by waking her up too early to boil water for milking. I now do it myself he said.
One of the advantages the Rungwe communities have with regards to the biogas project is that all the crucial materials needed for making biogas are readily available at the household level. Being cleaner and safer energy source, biogas has reduced the workload for women by allowing other members at the household to join the cookingc especially men and youth male. This has enhanced co-operation among family members in doing household chores,especially cooking.
Based on its objectives and impacts this project is well in line with SDG 5 and Tanzania’s National Development Vision 2025.