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< prev - next > Energy Biogas KnO 100619_Biogas Digest vol 1 (Printable PDF)
Biogas - Framework Conditions
The implementation of biogas projects and programs, even on a small-scale level, must take
into account the underlying socio-cultural, political, economic and ecological conditions. As
an appropriate technology, mainly for rural areas, the realization of economically viable and
sociologically and ecologically beneficial biogas projects heavily relies on social and political
acceptance. Benefits of biogas as well as major obstacles depend on the specific and
complex relationships between social organization, economic premises, environmental
problems and political intentions.
Social aspects in the planning process
Participation of the local population is a key issue in the project planning phase. People
should be involved as early as possible. The basic facts about biogas technology should be
made clear beforehand, so that possible problems of biogas technology are transparent to
the actors involved. Obstacles can arise from religious and/or social taboos in the following
prohibitions in the use of gas primarily for the preparation of food
prohibitions in the use of the slurry
social prohibition of work involved in running a biogas unit, either due to the
separation of classes, sexes, age groups or due to ethnic or religious affiliation.
In order to deal with these obstacles in a way that considers local conditions as well as
requirements of the project, the assistance and attitude of ruling or generally recognized
institutions is of major importance. Class structure and barriers have to be taken into account
for as well. General features of the society’s class structure and comparison with neighboring
areas and/or similar projects can serve for a preliminary analysis. The concrete conditions in
the project area have to be investigated based on this "general model" focusing on the social
position of the target group. For the delegation and organization of tasks during the project,
the existing social regulations on the division of labour represent a framework, that is often
difficult to determine. Women are often kept out of decision-making processes even though
they are usually the primarily affected group regarding household energy issues. Their
participation can, for instance, be encouraged by integration into authoritative bodies or by
forming special female committees.
Social and political aspects in the dissemination process
For the dissemination of biogas technology certain social and cultural convictions and norms
can act as impediments:
Ethical barriers
Sociocultural taboos
Denfense mechanisms, (specifically aginst the use of human excrements as fertilizer)
Lack of regularity in the attendance and maintenance of biogas systems
The implementation of biogas programmes is also linked to a number of political and
administrative factors that have to be considered.
Specific regional developments
Specific developments in the region can, positively or negatively, impact a biogas
dissemination program. They can occur, for example, as the result of:
Regional (energy) development: a dam is built in a region and the population is
resettled. In many aspects the resettlement villages would be ideally suited for
community biogas plants. The villages are to be newly constructed and can be
designed accordingly. Moreover, social mobility is increased by resettlement. On the
other hand the dam is being erected to produce electricity. Biogas will have to
compete with (possibly cheap) electric energy.