From my trip to Uganda, I was able to see firsthand why biogas is so important in poor rural communities. So far, I've shown you why it's important for women and for the environment. Now, I'd like to show you why it's important for rural children.
The very first farm we visited was that of Miriam and Wilberforce Muwonge in the Ntaawo Ward, Mukono District. Miriam and Wilberforce live with their three children and six grandchildren on about one acre of land. The family had already participated in a Heifer project, from which they received one dairy cow. They had little money for fuel for cooking and lighting, but they had plenty of cow manure. Since Heifer Uganda installed their biogas unit, they have been saving the equivalent of U.S. $10 a month on fuel costs. The children are not only able to attend school, but they are also able to study at night in their home.
In contrast, while driving to another field visit the next day, we passed three boys carrying loads of firewood on their heads. These were not the children or grandchildren of Heifer participants. They most likely do not get to attend school, because they are busy gathering firewood and probably water.
As a mother, I was understandably drawn to the children I saw on this trip. To see the difference Heifer makes in the lives of children was amazing. They look healthy, their clothes are cleaner, they go to school, they read books. The gifts of a dairy cow and a biogas unit, and the accompanying training, sure go a long way.