Sustaining and scaling bio-digester markets with model bio-digester villages

At SNV, we are committed to empowering rural communities and fostering sustainable development. Through our innovative approach and collaboration with local partners, we have introduced Model Bio-digester Villages, which have become centres of excellence, showcasing the transformative potential of bio-digester technology.

What is a model bio-digester village?

A Model Bio-digester Village is a collection of households of which 20% and above own adopt bio-digester technology. A Model Bio-digester Village serves as a centre of excellence to showcase and use the technology related to energy, organic fertiliser, sanitation etc., as well as a learning site for users and business models for the private sector. In a kebele, at least there should be one village. Currently, the programme succeeded in launching eight Model Bio-digester Villages in SNNPR, Amhara and Oromia regions.

A village will be nominated a Model based on the mandatory as well as Optional criteria. The mandatory criteria include at least 20% of households owning bio-digesters, ensuring 95% functionality, exercising proper bio-slurry management and use, realising the connection and sustainable use of toilets, existence of dynamic biogas construction enterprise, and technology promotion. To ensure the benefits sustain, the programme built the capacity of the users on operation and maintenance. In addition, NBPE+ linked the woreda/district and kebele (lower level of administration) energy experts and biogas construction enterprises to support and provide services to the end users.

The purpose of model bio-digester villages

Model, Bio-digester Village initiative, was designed to ensure overall sector development and improve the quality of life of rural people. It will achieve this through promoting energy for lighting and cooking plus bio-slurry as organic fertiliser, improving health through the promotion of clean energy and toilet connection, reducing deforestation, and creating job opportunities. Moreover, the villages are hoped to create a wonderful opportunity to incorporate Open Defecation Free areas and Smoke-Free Village (SFV) concept.


NBPE+ started promoting and launching Model Bio-digester Villages five years ago. Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region, Wondo Genet Woreda launched the first village in 2018.

Sustainable use of technology: The Buna Mesk Model Bio-digester Village comprises 50 households. Of these, 27 have bio-digesters and use bio-slurry as soil fertility enhancer. Some of the users also generate income selling liquid bio-slurry as well as compost. In the region, currently, there are two Model Bio-digester Villages.

Income: Shewaye Sebesebe, a female farmer in Wondo Genet woreda and a member of Buna Mesk Model Bio-digester Village, is enjoying the multiple benefits of the technology. In addition to increasing the production and productivity of her garden, she is generating additional income from the sale of bio-slurry compost. In a year, she earned ETB 6,000 from sell of bio-slurry compost.

Following this, Amhara and Oromia regions have launched four and two villages, respectively. The recently launched village in Oromia - Gaba Robi Model Bio-digester Village – experienced a 95% bio-digester functionality rate. All the households use composed bio-slurry to grow vegetables through this Regenerative Agriculture method. 

Clean environment: connecting digesters to toilets requires constructing sustainable toilets. Such facilities encourage users to utilise them sustainably and adequately, preventing odour from the toilet. The adoption of clean cooking reduces indoor pollution and GHG emissions at a local level.  

Belaynesh Sebesebe in her garden developed by bio-slurry

Bio-digester connected to toilet and with shaded bio-slurry pit, SNNPR

Project partnership

The Model bio-digester Villages initiative is implemented under the Biogas Dissemination Biogas Scale-up Programme (NBPE+). This collaboration between SNV, the Ministry of Water and Energy (MoWE), and co-funded by the European Union, aims to scale up bio-digesters dissemination across Ethiopia. With the leadership of the National Biogas Programme of Ethiopia at the MoWE level, the partnership targets the installation of 29,326 domestic bio-digesters, benefiting 180,941 families through a market-driven approach.

Empowering rural communities

SNV, in collaboration with its partners, is dedicated to empowering rural communities and driving sustainable development through initiatives like the Model Bio-digester Villages. By showcasing the benefits of bio-digester technology, fostering inclusive growth, and prioritising environmental sustainability, these villages serve as catalysts for positive change. Together, we can create a future where clean energy, improved sanitation, and resilient livelihoods are accessible to all.

To learn more about the Biogas Dissemination Scale-Up Programme (NBPE+)