We therefore try to focus on providing for these needs sustainably, by developing a number of rural renewable energy technologies including biogas and solar energy.
We are working to improve the bio-digester systems of the communities after several years in use. The team have made several design modifications to ensure that the model we use is the cheapest and most suited to rural remote areas. It provides an easy and reliable sustainable energy source that can meet a family’s needs. It has many benefits; not only clean energy for cooking and lighting, but also it uses a waste product (animal manure) that otherwise has a detrimental effect on sanitation. It prevents methane releases from the manure, and creates an excellent organic fertilizer (highly useful in a country with a high-level of subsistence farming). The health implications are also manifold, including reduction in smoke-related respiratory or eye problems, reduction in bacterial diseases linked to manure practices and sanitation, and increase in nutrition due to increased fertilization and therefore increased food security/food diversity. Bio-digester reduces a lot of burden of the women and children in the families as collection of firewood and animal husbandry tend to be women’s and children’s roles in rural Cambodia.
Besides the bio-digester systems, we also provide clean energy to households through solar generated electricity. By doing this we are mitigating climate change, by reducing the emission of carbon dioxide that would otherwise have been emitted by the burning of wood or fossil fuels.
For people who are living along the Mekong River, we provide solar-powered water pumps. Changes in the climate have increased the number and duration of droughts. By providing solar-powered water pumps which pump water directly from the Mekong River, communities have a secure supply of water for irrigation. This helps them in coping with droughts and increases their food security.
Lastly, we establish community-based eco-tourism centres. Our eco-tourism initiative ensures that communities have an additional source of income. So, even when faced with bad climate conditions like floods and droughts, people can earn money besides agriculture through eco-tourism. The initiative further increases the environmental resilience by protecting and conserving forests and wildlife.