Case study 1
Let's take the example of an agricultural collective that had worked to raise funds and purchase biogas digesters for each family with members in the collective. People in the region had noticed that the farmers in the collective seemed to have much more time to do other income generating activities, and were no longer buying fertilizer from other sources, saving income. The women in particular had a bunch of changes, some finding larger yields for crops, others starting new crops and still others engaged in non-agricultural income generating activities, such as making and selling crafts. Everyone wanted to know why this was. To find out, separate focus groups were conducted with men and women to learn about their experiences with the biodigesters.
The men almost universally said that the fertilizer that the biodigester produced was a huge advantage of the system. They saved a lot of money using this in place of buying fertilizer. They used this money in different ways, some reinvested it in more seeds and other inputs or resources, some saved it and still others consulted their wives and found ways to reinvest the money in the household. One man even used it to pay his children’s school fees, a burden he said his wife had used to take on with her earnings.
The women also felt the fertilizer was important, but for them the biggest advantage of the biodigester was the time it saved in collecting firewood for cooking and for lighting their home, as the biogas provided both. They also found they were less tired, as they did not have to carry firewood over long distances anymore. With more time and energy, several were able to devote more time to their plots, or to finishing their work on communal plots earlier so they could start on their plots earlier, creating larger harvests. Others used the extra time to attend farmer field school sessions, while still others began making crafts. Several also noted that their children were able to study later at night with the light provided by the biogas, which they said was helping their outcomes in school. A few even noticed that they, their husbands and their children were all coughing less. This is likely because they are no longer breathing in the smoke from cook fires.
Clearly there are a lot of positive side effects for this climate smart agriculture approach, and it might be helpful to combine this with other interventions that would otherwise put additional time burdens on women.
Case study adapted from the following source: