Ma Van Va heads a young family from the Tay ethnic minority group in Nam Kep village, and they earn their living from rice farming and pig and cattle raising. So, they do have some resources to support themselves; but, honestly, Va needed some help to manage his animals better – especially their solid waste, which he wrongly let accumulate close to his house, which his neighbors complained about a lot because of the smell.
When CWS was invited to work with Nam Kep villagers in helping them make some basic improvements to their lives, Va was among those who were curious to understand more about biogas. So, he joined our workshop, where I introduced biogas: how it is made by managing animal waste safely and productively, and how it can provide energy for the house. When I explained the composite biogas model, the details of how it works and how to install and maintain it, to produce biogas, Va understood right away that it was a good solution to his untreated animal waste problem. As importantly, he understood that biogas brings many other advantages, such as producing gas for cooking and reducing feces-related communicable disease, thus creating a healthier household environment. Also, there was the saving of trees, which the family would have otherwise used for fuel; and, in the bargain, the saving of his wife’s labor in collecting and hauling the fire wood.
After Va and I spoke in a bit more detail after the workshop, it was easy for him to decide to invest some family resource buy and install a biogas tank, and to repair his chicken coop and yard too. Now the work is done; and, when I visited, there were no bad smells and almost no flies, which is quite a big change. And, now, gas is always available for cooking with no need to collect firewood or buy commercial gas. Sharing with me, Va said, “Biogas is quite a new thing for us. Thanks for introducing us to it. Knowing its many benefits, I strongly believe that my decision to invest in making biogas at home is completely right – for my family and our neighbors, too!”.
Nguyen Van Ty is a WASH Program Officer of CWS Vietnam
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