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

Country: Mexico

Organization: IRRI Mexico – Instituto Internacional de Recursos Renovables A.C.

Representative: Monserrat Del Carmen Gonzalez Espinosa


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.