Zambia: Sustainable Livelihood & Environment

Zambia: Sustainable Livelihood & Environment

Only 3.2% of inhabitants in Zambia are able to cook or use lights powered by electricity at home. Others most often use wood or charcoal, resulting in a substantially negative impact on the surrounding environment. It is estimated that using this source of fuel in Zambia results in significant deforestation, and up to 300 thousand hectares of soil are lost every year. 

People in Need works in the western province of Zambia in the district of Kalabo, which is among the poorest regions in Zambia. Up to 44% of households lack access to sanitary facilities as well as electricity and gas. Therefore, we are trying to help locals to attain long-term, sustainable sources (e.g., homemade bio-gas plants) which will not pollute the surrounding environment. By building new modern bio-gas plants not only do farmers gain the gas needed for cooking but they also acquire new skills and knowledge leading to the eco-efficient use of their livestock’s manure. Manure can be turned into a highly efficient organic fertiliser which can also lead to improved agricultural production.



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Past aid programmes

Enhancing bioenergy in Western Province, phase II

Enhancing bioenergy in Western Province, phase II

This project is a follow-up to a previous PIN project from 2018, which took place in Western Province in the Kalabo region and presented the technology of biogas plants to local people. Ten model biogas plants were built under the project.
The main objective of phase two is to help local communities transition to sustainable energy sources. Today, only 3.2 % of Zambia’s rural population has reliable access to electricity. Wood or charcoal is used as a primary energy source, which results in deforestation of the region, breathing problems, and is a drain on productivity (due to time spent collecting these raw materials).
Thanks to large-scale cattle breeding in the region, biogas plants are a natural fit for the local economic context. Farmers working predominantly on sandy soil need quality fertilizers, and biogas plants produce biogas for cooking and highly-effective organic fertilizer for field application.
Various information campaigns are being organized under the project focusing on the technology of biogas plants. These campaigns are carried out through media, as well as via trainings on  biogas plant construction and operation, and organic fertilizer demonstrations. The project also helps local communities create markets for biogas products. Future initiatives could include providing access to financial services to help small farmers.
Access to energy in the Western Province

Access to energy in the Western Province

It is mostly women (70%) who are in charge of cooking and meal preparation in Zambia. Gathering up kindling wood takes them around 8 hours per week. Regular inhaling of combustion gases which are formed during burning wood or charcoal is consequently harmful to the health of women as well as their families. In addition, this kind of thermal treatment adds to deforestation and the soil becomes arid and is of no longer use. Therefore People in Need has now been working with farmers in the poorest districts of the Western Province where the organization helps build efficient and affordable biogas plants. These biogas plants function as a certain “mechanical stomach“: They are fed with organic material (human or animal faeces). If there is no access to oxygen, the organic material decomposes and consequently biogas is produced (methane and carbon dioxide) as well as natural germ-free manure. Biogas can be used either for cooking or as organic manure which can contribute to better and higher value agricultural production. The overall positive environment-friendly impact will be also seen in reduced wood gathering and decreased deforestation.

How else we help

News

Biodigesters in Zambia: Flourishing gardens and no need to look for firewood

Biodigesters in Zambia: Flourishing gardens and no need to look for firewood