Promoting Household Energy Security: WWF introduces ‘fuel wood free’ homes in Mudzi and Mutoko
"Now my children do not need to look for firewood after school. Instead, they have time to do their homework, and I also time for other things I need to do." Sarah Kapfunde Mutoko, Zimabwe
As a strategy to reduce energy footprint on forests and promote energy security at household level, WWF in collaboration with Environment Africa, The Ministry of Energy and Power Development and with support from Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) introduced biogas pilot projects on two sites in Mudzi and Mutoko. This was in response to study findings that wood, the main source of fuel was exerting immense pressure on natural forests in the area. The findings also revealed a high interest in biogas technology as an alternative to fuel wood.
The Kapfunde and Kanemanyanga homesteads in Tsiga and Muwadzi villages were selected as pilot sites for bio-digesters that use cattle dung and jatropha cake as feedstock. The model is ‘3 in 1’ as it combines energy production, waste treatment and nutrient recycling. Within a short space of time, the two homesteads have become self-sufficient in energy and even produce a surplus to their requirements. Socially, there is cohesion in the community as pilot sites have rallied people for learning and women who traditionally are family wood providers are no longer prone to the social ills that befell them they traverse dangerous forests in search of wood. Economically the initiative has taken away the cost burden of buying fuel wood from wood merchants and also reduce the cost on chemical fertiliser as they benefit from bio-fertiliser from the digestate.
“My family embraced this biogas technology because of it is clean and efficient. Preparing meals is now a pleasure as I am doing it in a smoke free environment. The cooking process for major meals for the family which used to take two and half hours now takes me about 40 minutes.”(Mrs Kanemanyanga-Mudzi).