We therefore try to focus on providing for these needs sustainably, by developing a number of rural renewable energy technologies including biogas, micro-hydro and solar.
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.
We are exploring the opportunities to bring new technologies of solar and micro-hydropower to use mainly for pumping water to supply irrigation systems, provide renewable electricity to rural communities especially those who live along the Mekong River. Communities we work with understand the benefits of renewable energy very well and are willing to contribute to the cost of construction if there is support for it.