RedBioEc, The Ecuadorian Biodigester Network

Building on the WISIONS-supported formation of the Ecuadorian Biodigester Network in 2016, one of our SEPS exchange activities seeks to further develop a strong base of biodigester practitioners within Ecuador and form linkages between actors with interest in the technology at local and national levels.

Following preparations for the three initial three-day capacity-building workshops, the first was held in northern Ecuador’s Intag region during the project’s first phase. Following the success of this initial event, the other two workshops were held in El Empalme and Ayancay.

All participants reported that the hands-on aspects of the course effectively facilitated knowledge transfer, both in the installation of tubular polyethylene biodigesters on a smallholder property (Guayas) and at a small/medium husbandry operation (Cañar). This field component also provided participants with the opportunity to gain experience in answering questions posed by beneficiary families regarding digester operation, management, and benefits.

Requests for further support highlighted by many participants included written training materials, additional training, particularly on digester sizing and technical details; and overwhelmingly, financing to put the learning into action. A majority of participants reported that they did not feel they had the capacity to replicate the technology with their own resources (financial, technical, and/or agricultural), and planned to apply the learning by sharing the experience with other community members or academic colleagues, who may face the same limitations.

Following analysis of these results from the initial workshops and additional logistics planning with local organizing partners in each of the three locations, follow-up workshops and “field day” promotional events were planned in each location, with local partners largely charged with promoting the event to nearby smallholder, government, and NGO stakeholders. To address some of the issues identified in the post-course surveys, content modifications for the follow-up courses and field days were centered on responding to participants’ technical concerns and identified weak points in the programme (lack of sufficient focus on effluent fertilizer usage, need for additional visits to functional biodigesters, etc.). By moving up these workshops, the organisers aimed to increase the likelihood of successful initial efforts by more confident new practitioners, determine whether additional field activities prior to the national-level event will be beneficial (and financially viable), and promote replication and local capacity to support it to government actors prior to Ecuador’s political campaign season.

More general information on this project is available here: Capacity-Building, Democratisation of Technology and Local Advocacy through the Ecuadorian Biodigester Network (RedBioEc)

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