INSEDA and Women’s Action For Development (WAFD) established the Eco-Village Development (EVD) concept a decade ago in India as an innovative and integrated strategy to attaining low-cost, low-carbon development for rural populations.
The Eco-Village Development concept entails the implementation of appropriate, low-cost renewable energy technology (RET) and capacity-building activities at the village level in order to adapt to and mitigate climate change. It takes a collaborative approach by involving community members in the planning and implementation process, as well as providing them with the tools they need to be resilient in the face of climate change.
EVD is an integrated approach to creating development-focused, low-carbon communities of practice in existing villages. The bundle of practices includes:
- mitigation technologies like small
- household-sized biogas plants
- improved smokeless stoves
- solar-energy technology
- improved water mills to generate electric power
- stand-alone systems like pico-/micro-hydropower for rural electrification
- solar-powered drying units
It also includes adaptation technologies such as organic farming, roof-water harvesting, water-lifting technologies like hydraulic ram pumps, and other solutions.
The present initiative is being done in collaboration with grassroots NGOs in India (WAFD), Sri Lanka (IDEA), Bangladesh (Grameen Shakti), and Nepal (CRT-Nepal) to highlight low-cost, pro-poor green technology for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The initiative follows a community-based concept, with relevant green technology being implemented in communities after consultation with key stakeholders. We intend to disseminate our findings from this initiative in our advocacy actions directed at legislators, local government officials, and even ordinary people.
The decision to make villages the main focus of this approach was based on the fact that they are home to not just some of the poorest individuals in the region, but also the bulk of the population. Furthermore, due to a combination of physical location and endemic economic, informational, and social disadvantage, some of these people are the most sensitive to climate-related dangers. Villages are ill-equipped to deal with the quickly shifting but poorly understood implications of climate change on their land and livelihoods because they are often left on the periphery of national and sub-regional policymaking. Village communities are also excellent examples of contextually relevant, small-scale adaptation and mitigation innovations.
Emission reductions have become a focus of international and national programmes, but the village population currently has a relatively low per capita rate of emissions, thus focusing solely on mitigation of existing emissions is not optimal for them. It is more important to plan for a low-carbon future. Adaptation has become increasingly important as the region’s ecosystems and climate cycles have been irreversibly disrupted.
The following are some of the technologies featured in the project:
- Bamboo-based biogas plants: The Alwar district has a large number of milk cows, with most households owning 1-2 or even more. In an improper approach, the excrement is frequently left in a heap to form compost, which emits a lot of methane into the atmosphere, as well as many nutrients that are leached or washed away during rains. Women walk long distances to gather firewood and agricultural debris to use as cooking fuel. When people cook inside the house or over open flames in their courtyards, they create interior pollution, which adds to the pollution in the atmosphere.
- All of these issues are solved by using a biogas plant: there is no methane in the atmosphere because it is used as cooking energy, there is no pollution, there is no drudgery for women, and there is wonderful organic manure for farming and improving soil conditions. The biogas plant that will be built will employ bamboo reinforced with cement mortar, which is less expensive, environmentally benign, and allows women to make money by replacing bricks with bamboo.
- Rain roof water collecting with bamboo: because this is an arid location, it is critical to collect and conserve every drop of water for future use. Here, too, bamboo replaces bricks in the construction of these structures, and rainwater from the rooftops can be collected rather than flow off.
- Bamboo-based solar dryers.
- Baskets constructed of bamboo for composting
- Tree plantation nursery raising utilising a simple low-cost poly house: tree plantation is highly vital for the barren environment. Plantation drives can benefit from the usage of poly homes to raise seedlings.
- Other innovations include briquetting, which uses locally available charred biomass for smokeless and pollution-free cooking in the Eco-dwellings.
- The “Heera” stove is an improved hybrid cookstove.
- Additionally, the poly house seedlings will be used to enhance agroforestry.
Aside from that, the Eco Village model incorporates livelihood generation training, particularly for women’s sustainable business. It also includes health and sanitation training, climate change awareness, and women’s empowerment programmes.