Exchange: Waste to Wisdom: Supporting Biodigester Practitioners in South East Asia

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This knowledge exchange activity aims to address the technical gaps in organisations in Malaysia and the Philippines by providing them with the skills to install and operate biogas digester systems efficiently and affordably.

About 80 percent of rural households in Malaysia's North Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak still rely on firewood for cooking, which contributes to lung disease and, in some cases, deforestation. Meanwhile, the burning of both organic and inorganic waste remains commonplace in many Malaysian communities. Accordingly, practitioners and communities throughout Malaysia have articulated a need for clean cooking technology. These groups have also communicated a need for technologies and approaches to reduce the amount of waste generated by rural communities in Malaysia. Biogas digesters would appear to be an appropriate technology for simultaneously addressing these challenges. However, there is currently a lack of knowledge among organisations in Malaysia and the Philippines about how to deploy biogas digester systems in the rural context. Some systems have been implemented, but many have failed due to technical flaws or because they are prohibitively expensive for communities. In Sri Lanka, on the other hand, the approach taken by the organisation Janathakshan towards the technology has been very successful. Their system design, using fibreglass moulds, would also be appropriate for the Malaysian rural context where many sites are difficult to access. Therefore, Green Empowerment and their Sri Lanka based partner Janathakshan aim to jointly address the technical gaps in organisations in Malaysia and the Philippines by providing them with the skills to install and operate biogas digester systems efficiently and affordably. This knowledge exchange specifically aims to:

  • Transfer knowledge about low-cost, locally appropriate biogas digester technology from Sri Lankan practitioners to South East Asian practitioners;
  • Develop a plan with stakeholders for introducing and scaling community biogas digester installations in South East Asia;
  • Enable Sri Lankan practitioners to supervise the installation of a community biogas digester in Sabah, Malaysia;
  • Produce a biogas training manual and “installation kits” for participants.

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