A Muslim Financed Program - Biogas

Trip Start Jul 26, 2008
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42
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Trip End Sep 27, 2008


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Flag of India  , Gujarat,
Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Apoorva Oza
Chief Executive Officer
Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India)

This is a Muslim Charity that is inclusive of all religions in who they serve and who they hire.
I was particularly interested in their work in creating energy from BioGas.  Although I had heard/read about this very simple technology - I didn't really understand it.  In its simplest form, a professional mason is hired to put in the ground a 10 foot diameter tank, an input for a variety of waste - particularly cow or buffalo dung and can include human waste directly inputted from the family latrine - and has two outputs - one of gas that can be used for cooking/light, etc and the other being compost fertilizer which provides excellent non-toxic fertilizer for their farms/gardens.  These cost $400, $100 of which is subsidized, $100 of which can be taken care of by the owner providing labor and $200 being the net cost that can be covered by a microcredit loan.  This very simple technology has been around for many years and does not require cleaning/maintenance, etc - and it does not smell.  The dung from two cows can provide enough energy for the needs of a typical home.

AKRSP also oversees the creation of larger BioGas facilities and believes that village communities can sustain income growth from proper management of natural resources on a community basis.

AKRSP began its biogas program in 1986 in response to the mass deforestation facing Gir Forest, the last home of the Asiatic lion.  Village women for kilometers around were trudging daily in search of fuelwood.

The Gir farmers' lands were also gradually being eroded by heavy use of chemical fertilizers.  Introducing biogas thus made sense in terms of answering the farmers' needs for organic compost as well as providing an energy source for cooking.
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