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Posts Tagged ‘Trees for the Future’

Many innovations in clean energy, including biogas, have demonstrated incredible applicability and success within communities here in Eastern Uganda. We have begun exploring the feasibility of bringing home biogas solutions to Buyobo and the surrounding villages for the following reasons!

Challenges surrounding today’s energy sources are increasing:

Homes in remote villages rely primarily on burning firewood to power stoves used for cooking. In some cases, homes have supplemental power from solar panels to fuel small lights. However, the environmental and humanitarian impacts of so many homes and villages using firewood are getting increasingly severe.

The challenges with this significant reliance on firewood include:

  • There is a diminishing supply of trees which can be chopped for wood (especially due to the logging companies)
  • Reduced foliage makes the land more susceptible to landslides (especially during the ~5 month rainy season) which have ruined homes, villages, roads, and bridges across the region as well as killing many people in their path
  • Villagers must travel increasingly farther away from their homes to source firewood, creating sometimes dangerous and lengthy treks through unfamiliar forests

Biogas is a potential solution:

In order to reduce the dependence on firewood, one option is for homes and villages to install biogas solutions in their homes. Biogas is fuel that is produced by fermenting organic matter, such as cow dung and household waste (process diagramed below1). Household systems are typically small outdoor structures with pipes that run underground into the home and rely on cow dung as the organic input.

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In order to see biogas in action we visited Namisindwa a village on the other side of the mountain to see how their home systems were working for them! Below are some photos from our visit:

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homeowners put the cow dung here and it will slowly make its way to down to start its change from dung to gas! Surprisingly it doesn’t smell.

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A gas nozzle

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The gas pressure gauge inside a house

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the stove that is powered by biogas!

 

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A training school has also installed a biogas system to power their kitchen. They use a mix of human and cow waste

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One of two cookstoves in the kitchen of the training school which feeds 300 students everyday

There are several international organizations involved in bringing biogas technology to Uganda. To learn more about these efforts, called the “Uganda Domestic Biogas Programme (UDBP),” please visit www.heifer.org and www.africabiogas.org.

 

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Had you been an onlooker outside the WMI offices this past Saturday in Buyobo, you would have witnessed long lines of eager women stretching many yards, smartly dressed health workers sanitizing equipment at 8:30 am sharp, and an energetic speaker guiding community members around local gardens, planting seeds.

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Lines of women waiting for cancer screenings in Buyobo

The enriching events this past Saturday were the fruit of two new partnerships between local organizations and WMI: Trees for the Future, an organization that empowers rural communities to protect their environments and preserve traditional livelihoods through tree planting, and RAIN Uganda, whose mission is providing education and health resources to villages throughout the area.

Mathius Lukwago, the Trees for the Future representative that came to Buyobo, gave an informative presentation on the importance of protecting tree cover and taking care of the local environment. He spoke about the dangers of cutting trees, how to plant trees, and how to make a nursery bed. His interactive presentation to an audience of 100 women was met with much curiosity and enthusiasm by the Buyobo community. After the presentation, Mathius demonstrated how to make a nursery bed and planted several types of seeds behind the WMI offices. He gave every woman in the audience a handful of seeds to plant at their homes.

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Instruction from Trees for the Future on how to make a nursery bed

Buyobo was also very excited to welcome RAIN Uganda back to our community (for a intro to RAIN Uganda, see the blog post from April 20) — so excited, in fact, that 300 women showed up to receive the services they were offering. This time RAIN Uganda brought midwives and health technicians to provide cervical cancer screenings and HIV testing at no cost to our community members. Our visitors worked tirelessly from 9 am to 4 pm to screen a total of 130 women. For those who came but did not get a chance to be screened, we look forward to welcoming RAIN Uganda back for a second weekend of screenings May 11.

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RAIN Uganda completing HIV/AIDS testing

The women received results within minutes for both the cervical cancer screenings and HIV tests. Many women expressed relief — stating that they had come to the event expecting to test positive, and were surprised and reassured to receive negative results. All expressed gratitude for the services offered, asserting that difficulty of access and fear of high costs had prohibited them from visiting health centers for testing in the past.

A very heartfelt thank-you to our visitors for enriching our soil and attending to our health.

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