Biogas: empowering women and girls and communities
Monique Ntumngia, founder of ‘Green Girls’ in Cameroon, a social business, which educates young women from rural communities in the use of renewable energy, is the recipient of this year’s WWF (World Wildlife Fund) International President’s Youth award. The award recognizes young people under the age of 30 helping promote the cause and impact of nature conservation.
Since being launched in 2015, Green Girls has empowered and trained almost 800 women from 23 communities across Cameroon to generate biogas from human waste and solar energy. As well as her outstanding contribution to promoting sustainable development in the country, the award is a recognition of Monique’s efforts to champion the inclusion of women and girls in the renewable energy sector in Cameroon and Africa.
On receiving the award, Monique said, “It’s been my good fortune that Green Girls has allowed me to combine two of my great passions: sustainable development and female empowerment. Renewable energy is an essential part of any solution if we are to meet both Africa’s future energy needs and the environmental challenges that lie ahead. Today’s youth will be at the forefront of meeting these challenges and women will have a central role to play. Thanks to the tireless work of my team and the boundless enthusiasm of countless young women, we’ve managed to make some significant progress and it’s truly humbling to be recognised for our work.”
Through Green Girls’ work, more than 3,000 households have been provided with biogas, while more than 100 households have had solar installations fitted. In addition to being trained on how to produce biogas, young women are taught how to promote sustainable development and become financially independent. In 2017, Monique was also crowned the winner of the inaugural WWF Africa Youth Award.
“At a time when we are witnessing the devastating loss of nature and biodiversity and imminent breakdown of climate systems, risking the very foundation of human existence, Monique and these amazing women give us hope and show what is possible. Not only is Monique promoting renewable energy that benefits the environment, she is also empowering hundreds of young women across Cameroon. She is a shining light, setting an example and showing us all that development and protecting the environment can go hand in hand,” said Pavan Sukhdev, President, WWF International.
Anaerobic digestion and biogas is one of the only sustainable energy sources which can directly satisfy as many as 9 of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals whilst recycling waste and delivering vital energy and food security.
Virginia Gardiner, Chief Executive Officer of Loowatt, outlines how anaerobic digestion is helping ‘waterless’ toilets tackle the global sanitation crisis while fighting climate change. Virginia Gardiner will be speaking on Day 1 at the World Biogas Summit, being held at the Birmingham NEC on July 3rd and 4th alongside the UK AD & World Biogas Trade Expo.