Biogas Project Empowers Women, Protects Environment

by Adenike Adeodun

In the Chimanimani district, a transformative biogas project by Practical Action is making a significant impact. Beneficiaries say it’s changing lives and promoting sustainable natural resource use. This project provides clean cooking energy for rural women, reducing their reliance on firewood and helping conserve trees.

A study by Practical Action found that deforestation in the district led to severe flooding, as it drastically reduced the soil’s water-holding capacity. This project addresses such environmental issues while offering practical solutions to the community.

According to a report by Newsday Zimbabwe, Maidei Musukutwa, a participant in the biogas project, expressed relief at this initiative. “Before, I had to walk kilometers for firewood, coming home at dusk. Now, I simply collect dung from my kraal to generate clean cooking energy. This project empowers me as a woman and provides an opportunity for income generation. We women are now active participants in this enterprise,” she explained.

Evidence Mutitsve, 22, sees the biogas project as a crucial step in reducing sexual abuse risks for women and girls. “Collecting firewood often puts us in danger. This project reduces the risk of sexual harassment and even murder in secluded areas,” she said.

Practical Action, in partnership with the Ministry of Energy and the Rural Electrification Agency, has piloted four demonstration biogas digester sites in Chimanimani. The biogas energy produced can power household stoves, refrigerators, and lighting. This reduces the dependence on firewood and combats deforestation.

“The biogas initiative ensures the use of clean fuels, reducing household air pollution and protecting women’s health,” said Nkosiphile Mthethwa, a client and resilience officer at Practical Action. “It also provides an organic fertilizer by-product, boosting soil fertility in fields, gardens, and irrigation schemes. This not only helps the environment but also generates income for women using biogas technology.”

This project is more than just an environmental initiative; it’s a step towards empowering women and enhancing their quality of life. The biogas project in Chimanimani is a testament to the positive changes sustainable energy can bring to communities, especially in empowering women and preserving the environment.

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