Eco Village Development

Evidence Based Advocacy for Low-Carbon, Pro-Poor Sustainable “Eco-Village Development “(EVD) in South Asia

The Eco-Village Development (EVD) concept was conceived a decade ago in India by INSEDA and Women’s Action For Development (WAFD) as a novel and integrated approach to achieving low-cost, low-carbon development for rural populations.

The Eco-Village Development concept involves the implementation at village-level of appropriate, inexpensive renewable-energy technology (RET) and capacity-building activities for climate change adaptation and mitigation. It takes a collaborative approach by involving community members deeply in planning and implementation, while also giving them the tools to be resilient while facing climate change. EVD is an integrated approach of 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-hydro power for rural electrification, and 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 current version of the project is being implemented jointly with grassroots NGOs based in India (WAFD), Sri Lanka (IDEA), Bangladesh (Grameen Shakti) and Nepal (CRT-Nepal) to showcase low-cost, pro-poor green technologies for climate change mitigation and adaptation. This project is known as "Evidence based advocacy for low–carbon, pro–poor sustainable Eco-Village Development (EVD) in South Asia". The project utilises a community based model, implementing appropriate green technologies in villages in consultation with the primary stakeholders. Based on our findings from this project, we aim to communicate our findings in our advocacy activities aimed at policymakers, local government officials and even common people.

The rationale for choosing villages as the focal point of this model is that they are home not only to some of the poorest people in the South Asian region, but also to the majority of the population. Furthermore, some of these people are also the most vulnerable to climate-mediated risks due to a combination of geographical location with endemic economic, informational and social deprivation. Usually left at the fringes of national and sub-regional governmental policy making, villages are ill equipped to cope with the rapidly evolving but little understood impacts of climate change on their land and livelihoods. Village communities also are ideal for illustrating the concept of contextually appropriate, small-scale innovations in adaptation and mitigation. International and national policies have raised their attention on emission reductions, but the village population presently has a very low per capita rate of emissions and, thus, focusing on mitigation of existing emissions alone is not ideal for them. Planning for a low-carbon future is more vital. Adaptation has gained increasing importance in the wake of permanently altered ecosystems and climate cycles in the region.

Our other partners in this project are INFORSE, Denmark, CANSA (Climate Action Network South Asia) and DIB, Denmark.

Some of the technologies being showcased in the project are:

  1. Bamboo based biogas plants: the area in Alwar district has many milk animals and most people have 1-2 or even more animals. The dung is usually left in a heap to make compost in an unscientific manner, and this releases a lot of methane in the atmosphere, while many nutrients too are leached away or washed away during rains. Women walk distances to collect firewood and agriculture waste for using as cooking energy. This again creates indoor pollution when they cook inside the house or on open fires in their courtyards thus adding to atmospheric pollution. Using a biogas plant solves all these problems, no methane in the atmosphere, as this is used as cooking energy, no pollution and no drudgery for women, plus excellent organic manure for farming and improving soil conditions. The biogas plant which will be put uses bamboo reinforced with cement mortar, is cheaper, environmentally friendly as bricks are replaced by bamboo and women are also participants in it’s construction so can earn some money.
  2. Bamboo based Rain roof water harvesting: being a dry area it is important to collect and save each drop of water for future use. Here too bricks are replaced by bamboo to make these structures and the rain water from the roofs can be collected instead of being allowed to run off.
  3. Solar dryers made of bamboo.
  4. Composting Baskets made of bamboo.
  5. Nursery raising for tree plantation using simple low cost poly house: tree plantation is very important for the area which is quite barren. Poly houses can be used for raisimg saplings for plantation drives.
  6. Some of the other technologies like briquetting using locally available charred biomass for smokeless and pollution free cooking in the houses with in the Eco-village.
  7. Improved Hybrid Cookstove, christened the “Heera” stove
  8. In addition agro-forestry will be promoted using the seedlings produced in the poly house.

Other than this, the Eco Village model also includes livelihood generation trainings especially those that support sustainable entrepreneurship for women. It also includes trainings on health and sanitation, awareness on climate change and women’s empowerment activities.

The EVD-South Asia project is being funded by CISU (Civil Society in Development), Denmark which provides financial support to development projects of NGOs. CISU funded this project through the partner NGO, DIB (Danish International Human Settlement Service) based in Aarhus, Denmark.

Our Project Partners for the EVD-South Asia project:

Women’s Action For Development, India

Grameen Shakti, Bangladesh

Integrated Development Association, Sri Lanka

Centre For Rural Technology, Nepal

Dansk International Bosætningsservice, Denmark

International Network For Sustainable Energy, Europe

Climate Action Network South Asia, Asia/br>