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Words from the finalist…

The ‘biodigestor sertanejo’ or Brushland Biodigestor is a Micro-AD technology developed per Diaconia and other organizations in Brazil based on the Chinese biodigester model, addressing the needs of family farming, gender equity, and climate change adaptation.

The organization Diaconia has been working for over 30 years to strengthen family farming in the semi-arid region of Brazil and has developed the ‘biodigestor sertanejo’ technology in collaboration with other organizations. The goal is to provide access to water, food production, and renewable energy, focusing on public policies to ensure widespread use and benefits for many families.

In 2008, Diaconia and the ‘Dom Helder Câmara Project’ conducted applied research to discover the best way to produce biogas in the Brazilian semi-arid reality. This initiative resulted in a pilot project with two units in the community of Santo Antônio II, in Afogados da Ingazeira (PE). During the research process, some evaluation parameters were highlighted, especially those related to the environment and family health.

In 2012, Diaconia, due to its work with the biodigestor, received the Caixa Best Practices in Local Management Award, a national recognition in Brazil. This award motivated the construction of a project that aimed to integrate this technology into the Federal Government’s National Rural Housing Program (PNHR).

Thus, in 2016, a project was developed with the Socio-environmental Fund of Caixa Econômica Federal bank, focusing on training for the construction and management of biogas production in 335 biodigesters across the states of Pernambuco, Bahia, Minas Gerais, Goiás, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul.

Since then, 874 units of the ‘biodigestor sertanejo’ have been installed, producing kitchen gas from animal manure (cattle, pigs, and goats) in more than seven Brazilian states, with emphasis on Ceará and Pernambuco.

In 2021, Diaconia and Instituto 17 published a document presenting the relationship of the technology with the Sustainable Development Goals: [link to the document].

Furthermore, Diaconia has been disseminating the ‘biodigestor sertanejo’ technology through various events and meetings with both public and private sectors. The institution and its supporters have been raising awareness among decision-makers about the importance of implementing the technology for energy generation and rural sanitation. Currently, they are working on a project with the government of the state of Tocantins, transferring knowledge and supporting rural extension technicians in the implementation of the technology. They are also in contact with governments of other states, such as Pernambuco, to expand support for families to use the technology.

In this technology dissemination context, two leaders from Diaconia, Waneska Bonfim and Ita Porto, are advisors to the Women in Biogas network, an initiative that was awarded by ADBA/WBA in 2023 in the Hero of the Year category.

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