Stories of Change

Xuyen at his stove, which is powered with gas from the biogas tank.

CWS programs in Vietnam reached more than 38,000 people last year. More than 21,000 others benefited indirectly from program activities.

Animal waste becomes valuable fuel in Vietnam

I met Mr. Xuyen during my recent visit to Hung My commune. He was working in a rice field near his home. With a bright smile, he insisted that I drop by his home so that he could show me the biogas tank that his family because of CWS information sharing and support.

Biogas tanks are placed underground to process decomposed organic waste like animal waste. Anaerobic bacteria are used to create a gas that can be used for cooking, lighting and more. These tanks are an eco-friendly way to save energy and improve sanitation. They are a good fit for families raising pigs and cattle. They are relatively expensive, though, so families need to budget to be able to afford them.

Xuyen’s house is Rom village is typical of the Tay ethnic minority group, and so is his small family size. The family earns and income by raising pigs and cattle, and it’s because they were having problems managing the animal waste that Xuyen got to know CWS. He attended a CWS-led community information workshop hosted by his commune’s Farmers’ Association about biogas tanks. He learned about how managing animal waste leads to better sanitation, so he realized this was a way to help address both health risks and the bad smell that had taken over his house and yard.

Xuyen excitedly showed me the gas stove in his kitchen area. It had a strong and continuous blue flame – so helpful for cooking. “It uses gas produced by the biogas tank from our animals’ waste! The gas is very stable, always available close at hand and very clean!”

Before he had the biogas tank, Xuyen and his family collected firewood from the far off forest. He was tired of that chore, especially in the rainy season when the wood was wet and hard to light. When it did catch, it was super smoky.

Seeing and hearing his happiness was contagious, and I found myself relieved for him that his life is easier now and that his family has a healthier living environment, too.

This story was told by Pham Cong Tuan, CWS Project Officer in Vietnam.