The biogas revolution

Urmila Tharu lives in Budhi, Nepal, with her 3 children: “life was difficult as I had the responsibility of looking after my family as well as earning for a living. The situation was made worse by the need for me to spend hours every day to collect firewood for cooking”.

COBLE program (Community Owned Biogas for Livelihood Enhancement) installs biogas units and offers maintenance and enterprise training to the community members. Once completed, units are filled with cow dung, which is then left to ferment. This produces methane gas which can be piped into the residents’ houses around the village, thus providing the community with a supply of energy for cooking, heating, and entrepreneurial tasks.

Urmila was an active member of the biogas units construction committee and now is a member of the user group committee. She attended Micro enterprise training and now she knows how to develop a business plan and to manage finances: “I use time saved to grow vegetables for selling and I’m very happy with the profit from candle making. I used firewood for candle making but it did not produce enough energy and I had to spend longer hours collecting firewood which made it unprofitable. Now I’m planning to expand my business and I will spend my money for my children’s education and for their future!”.

Prior to the biogas installations girls attendance at school was limited to only once or twice a week, whereas now they are regularly attending school and benefitting from education. Health problems decreased and a range of small enterprises being established. Moreover the biogas reduced the huge need for gathering firewood from the surrounding forests.

Around 300 of Nepal’s most disadvantaged members of society are benefitting from the program across four communities but this is just the beginning: the Nepal’s Rural Renewable Energy Program (RREP) is set to install 11,000 individual and community biogas plants in the coming five years.

Renewable World NGO