For years, people in the remote
villages of Egypt’s Menia Governorate have struggled to find
a steady, affordable source of energy and fertilizer for their farms. Now, what’s been considered
a useless by-product of farming is the key to a sustainable energy source as well as a source of jobs. In an ILO pilot project, 100 households here
will get energy and fertilizer from the manure of farm animals. The animal waste is fed into biogas digesters, where it generates methane
used for cooking and lighting. A by-product of the process
is an odorless bio-fertilizer. “The organic fertilizers
will be useful for the land. The crops will be very good and that will improve my income. And the unit will give me at least
two and half gas tanks per month.” According to the ILO’s World Employment
and Social Outlook report: Greening with jobs, countries can anticipate the transition
to environmentally sustainable technologies with know-how they already have. This project is an example: in a shared initiative, the ILO,
the regional government and the local university established
a “green entrepreneurship unit.” Recent graduates work in the villages to explain and implement
the green biogas technology. “I will personally benefit
from the job opportunities. It will allow me to raise public awareness about the use of organic matter instead of using energy sources
that pollute the atmosphere and result in global warming. That kind of energy
will not only harm a certain region, but the whole world.” In the Menufia Governorate, another ILO Biogas Initiative
is a partnership with the government, supported by rural development funding. Young engineers and construction
workers got practical training from the ILO to build biogas units; many went on to form their own businesses. “I applied, I was trained, and when I finished I formed a company
and started my career. I went from being a trainee
to being a company owner and we built 20 units. We in turn trained two engineers
and two workers who created two new companies.” “So far I have built 120 biogas units
in 11 Governorates across Egypt since I formed my company in 2014.” As the small companies
continue to build the units, there will be more demand
for the green biogas technology and more job opportunities. “This is also an opportunity to work
on what we call ‘green jobs’ – how we can create jobs
that are environmentally friendly and are in fact contributing
to more sustainability and a better balance with the environment.” Even green technologies that
have the most modest origins promise big rewards in the future. “The project has several goals: job creation for young people, serving the community and supporting sustainable development all at the same time.” International Labour Organization (ILO)