Stories of Change


CWS staff member Tuan checks on Va's biogas system.

Biogas is a win-win for Va and his family

Ma Van Va and his family make a living from rice farming and raising cattle and pigs. They are a family from the Tay ethnic minority group in Vietnam.

When we met him, Va was struggling with an unfortunate side effect of making a living raising livestock: animal waste. He was letting the waste accumulate near his house, which led to an awful smell and lots of flies. His neighbors complained about the smell, too.

CWS was recently invited to Va’s village to help families implement some basic technologies that could help improve their daily lives. One of these technologies was biogas. Va was among those who were curious to know more about it, so he joined a CWS workshop that introduced the technology. He learned that biogas is made from managing animal waste safely and productively and that it can provide energy to power his home. When our team member explained the composite biogas model and the details of how to install and maintain it, Va realized right away that this was the solution he was looking for to address his animal waste problem.

This was the answer he was looking for, in more ways than one. It would produce gas for cooking, so the family wouldn’t have to use firewood as fuel. That would save his wife time and effort that she used to spend collecting and hauling the wood. It would also save trees that would have been cut down. Plus, using the waste as biogas would reduce the risk of feces-related communicable diseases and create a healthier household environment.

After the workshop, Va made the easy decision to invest some of his family’s resources to buy and install a biogas tank and to fix up his chicken coop and yard. The project has since been completed, and our team checked in with Va recently to see how things are going. When we visited, the smell was gone – as were most of the flies. That’s a huge change from our previous visit. Now, Va’s family always has gas for cooking without collecting firewood or buying commercial gas. “Biogas is quite a new thing for us,” Va said. “Thanks for introducing us to it. Knowing its many benefits, I strongly believe that my decision to invest in making biogas at home is completely right – for my family, and for our neighbors, too!”