Ruminiyati (43) lives in Udanwuh Village, on Central Java, Indonesia. She and her husband Sumali (48) are proud owners of a quail farm. They live in a highly densely populated neighbourhood together with their thousand quails. At a certain point, problems arose. Though the quails always seemed happy, Ruminiyati’s neighbours certainly were not. The smell of quail manure bothered them intensely.
The neighbours were organising demonstrations and complaining incessantly. They demanded that Ruminiyati should shut down her farm. She needed to find a solution. She was desperate to safeguard her source of income from the quails. She sought better alternatives to collect and store the quail manure. During her search, she was introduced to staff of Hivos biogas programme Indonesia, BIRU. After attending a day-long presentation on biogas, she became convinced that installing a biogas digester on her farm was the way forward. A biogas digester would solve the waste problem, Moreover, it would also generate energy for cooking and lighting.
Of course, a biogas digester would require significant funding. Ruminiyati did not have the means to make the full investment on her own. She needed support. Ruminiyati turned to a government programme that focuses on empowering villagers. Since she was the first in her village to opt for biogas, they agreed to support her if she was willing to share her experiences with others. Hivos partner BIRU provided a grant to her for buying and implementing the biogas digester. Of the total costs of 12 million rupiah (approximately 800 euro), Ruminiyati only needed to invest 3 million rupiah (200 euro) herself.
Quail manure put to good use
As soon as the biogas digester was in use, it proved a perfect instrument for waste management. The large, daily quantity of quail manure is now moved directly into the digester. The bad smell of manure is gone, to the great relief of Ruminiyati’s neighbours. Moreover, the quail manure is now being put to good use: it guarantees a constant flow of biogas, more than Ruminiyati and Sumali need. They decided to share their surplus with their neighbours. Their five closest neighbours now have access to the biogas for cooking. Evidently, all this has led to much improved relations with the people of their community.
A man in the kitchen
And there is more. Before the biogas digester was in place, Ruminiyati spent 3 hours a week fetching firewood for cooking. And because cooking on firewood is considered a female task, Sumali never showed himself in the kitchen. Now things have changed. Cooking on biogas is modern and not yet culturally embedded. Sumali now feels free to assist his wife in the kitchen, which he is doing more and more often. Having more time on her hands, Ruminiyati was able to set up another business: producing and selling organic fertilizer. This organic fertilizer is the effective by-product of biogas-extracted quail manure. All in all, the biogas digester boosted both Ruminiyati’s financial position and her personal wellbeing.
People around the world choose biogas to create healthy kitchens and green fields. Ruminiyati’s story is just one of the many examples of the empowering effect of Hivos biogas. Hivos believes in the power of people, anywhere in the world, to improve their situation and gain more control over their lives. Most poor people live in rural areas and their basic income depends on the state of their natural environment, which is under increasing threat from the changing climate. Using renewable energy sources and climate-smart agricultural methods, such as biogas, significantly improves their living conditions and helps them to mitigate the negative effects of climate change.
Carbon finance makes these new technologies more affordable. Hivos offers biogas carbon credits – an ideal opportunity for individuals and companies to compensate their CO2 emissions, slow down climate change and stimulate global development. Besides carbon credits, Hivos also offers W+ units with which the empowerment of women worldwide is supported.