Rural woman in Yucatan committed to healthy harvests and smoke-free cooking

Project Desciption: In rural areas of Yucatán, the main economic activity is agriculture, a sector where women account for 70% of the workforce. They perform their daily work without any basic training, technology, financing and without the rights over the land they cultivate. Climate change has made this problem even worse, making it more difficult to break the cycle of poverty. The goal of this project is to empower women by giving them access to natural resources in their homes through biodigesters, developing skills that improve their farming practices and reduce the risks of respiratory diseases and the time needed for gathering firewood, protecting the forests and stopping the use of chemical fertilisers. For this, 599 biodigesters have been installed in Yucatán’s indigenous communities.

Climate Impact: In 5 years, 432,897 m3 of biogas have been produced, reducing the use of firewood by 88%. Experience showed that manure transformed into energy eliminates a significant amount of CO2. The biodigesters have reduced 7,892 metric tons of animal waste that would have ended up in the aquifer. They produce 37 million litres of biofertiliser a year, for a fertilisation potential of approximately 567 ha/year, the equivalent of replacing 170,000 kg of synthetic fertilisers a year. This figure implies that the use of biofertiliser replaces the use of chemical fertilisers, as well as pesticides.

Gender Impact: Biodigesters, mainly managed by women, provide self-produced inputs that improve harvests and nutrition, breaking the cycle of extreme poverty and malnutrition in a period of climate change. Women participated in trainings and their voices were integrated into the generation of knowledge on climate change, rights and the use of clean energy. The systems adopted reduce the women’s health risks and financial stress and have an impact on energy and food safety, as well as on the diversification of productive farming activities.

Scalibility: The biodigesters can be replicated and are designed for small producers. They are mainly supplied with animal waste and require very little maintenance, helping the women and girls to save time to engage in other activities. The aim is to replicate knowledge through the creation of the first storage and treatment centre, called U ́Ka Muuk’ Lu’um, since 2017. The consolidation of this centre provides knowledge and space for these producers to find the tools for reproducing sustainable agricultural practices.


Indigenous women designing climate policies in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Desription of project: The Ikoots, Mixe, Mixteca and Zapoteca indigenous communities of Oaxaca State suffer from marginalization. Since 2011, EECO has been working with women in 28 communities to improve their climate resilience, strengthening their participation in local and State policy processes and their leadership on adaptation and mitigation actions. Community centers for refugees and committees involving 3,330 indigenous women have developed self-built eco-technologies for energy, water and sanitation based on ancestral know-how. They provide input in territorial public policies designed by communities, with a gender responsive, intercultural and rights-based approach. This project, already replicated in other states, contributes to tackling climate challenges with an exemplary governance scheme of co-responsibility between government and civil society.

Climate Impact: Women participate in public policy design in Oaxaca, defining specific actions for the State Law and State Climate Change Program initiative. With 1850 self constructed eco-techniques, i.e. fog condensers, water canals and tanks, they rehabilitate ancestral know-how, capture 54 M liters of rainwater per semester, efficiently responding to droughts and frosts that threaten cultures and saving 85% of the crops. 667 dry toilets, 143 biodigesters and 511 efficient stoves have saved 5,903 tons of CO2 and reduced deforestation.

Gender Impact: EECO uses a gender-based approach with risk and vulnerabilities evaluation. They help transforming marginalized indigenous women in grassroots leaders within the spaces of decision-making and local development. The technologies have been adapted to women’s needs and resolve most problems of health, excessive workloads and economic constraints. More than 3,000 women have been trained directly, creating 3 committees for community management and 9 for risk management; today 357 women have endorsed a leading role in their community.

Scalibility: This holistic project started in 8 communities, rapidly expanding to 28, indirectly benefiting 2000 villages in Oaxaca State. Training women leaders gives the knowledge a greater outreach at municipal and state levels. A monitoring and evaluation process ensures steady improvements, leading to references in international forums and attracting the academic world. Pedagogical materials and games have been translated into several languages and creative communication campaigns on social media and radio allow for wide, international  knowledge dissemination.


Integrated waste management system to promote food and energy security among Mayan indigenous women

Description of the project: The project benefits 2,454 women

(and their families) of the indigenous Mayan communities in

Yucatan, Mexico. Energy security, food sovereignty and agricultural

sustainability are achieved through an anaerobic digester, treating

animal waste, that produces biogas and biofertilizer. Women

get training on the use, management and maintenance of the

biodigester. The digester reduces soil and water contamination,

airborne pathogens causing diseases, and provides energy security.

The biofertilizer, combining the functions of fertilizer, pesticide

and soil regenerator, aids food sovereignty. The project promotes

women’s capacities for inclusion in decision-making at all levels.

Climate impact: Project achieves over 99% pathogen reduction.

Biogas displaces liquid petroleum gas and woodfuel.

Organic fertilizer displaces synthetic fertilizers, eliminating environmental

impact (775 MT CO2/year). The system, designed with

local materials, requires low maintenance. No need for external

technical assistance, repairs, fossil fuels, fertilizers; pesticides are

eliminated. Children and youths learn to promote sustainability

while adults are trained in forest management.

Gender impact: Women are healthier and are able to take up

more income generating activities, such as embroidery. They

have extra time for family and for themselves, or participating in

community activities. Other impacts include: reduction of burden

of cleaning pig waste; significant health impacts from substitution

of woodfuel and plastic; more spare time (previously

used to collect wood); more varied, nutritious and organic diet

with own produce; women are able to participate in decisionmaking


Scalability / replicability: The project is easy to replicate and

upscale. Trained users handle and teach others how to install,

manage and repair the system. It uses easily available material.

The educational component includes a children’s tale to make

the technology more understandable and easily transmitted.

The project works closely with community members; the technology

is specially designed for harsh rural conditions. The smallscale

biodigester is a high quality durable good, easy to package,

distribute and install.