SEDS, the Social Education and Development Society, was founded in 1980 by Rajen Joshua and Manil Jayasena as a grassroots development NGO, motivated by the desire to help the poorest of the poor in the drought-prone area of Anantapur District in Andhra Pradesh. In the early days, the main focus of the work was on community development by way of non-formal education and small loans to skilled target communities like cobblers, basket weavers, blanket weavers and others.

As Anantapur is the second most drought prone area in India and much of its natural resources are depleted, it soon became clear that environmental problems would have to be tackled first, if peoples’ livelihoods were to be made sustainable. Starting in 10 villages near the small town of Penukonda a scheme of pioneering work was developed which aimed to empower local communities and improve their environment. Initially small nurseries were started for homestead plantations and planting of avenue trees along village roads. Re-a-forestation and more sustainable agricultural practices were introduced. From 1990, SEDS started using a more participatory approach, through the formation of Community Based Organizations. Involving the communities more in the effort made them actual stakeholders in the development process of the region. Throughout the years the scope and area of the work increased and the fruits of the sustained efforts became visible in the greener environment and the enthusiasm of the communities.

Today, SEDS is working through an integrated rural development approach with an emphasis on women’s empowerment, watersheds, re-a-forestation and natural resource management. This is within five Mandals in the southern part of Anantapur District, in south western Andhra Pradesh namely, Penukonda, Roddam, Gorantla, Somandepalli and Chilamathur. In these 5 mandals SEDS currently supports 125 villages, being some 12000 women and their families, 980 Self Help Groups (SHGs), 120 Village Organisations (VOs) & 5 Mandal Samakyas (MMSs) .

Through its sustained efforts SEDS has made a significant impact on the lives of the people in the area and the local environment. The SEDS slogan “Towards a greener tomorrow” has become a reality.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Social Education and Development Society – Biogas CDM project Non-Technical Project Design Document

SEDS is planning to undertake a community biogas CDM project. For this we are having a public consultation on the 16th of July 2008 (10.30 am) at the SEDS Vocational Training Centre in Penukonda, Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh. All are welcome to attend. At the meeting and through this blog we are actively inviting public comments on the environmental and social impacts. Please feel free to conribute any comments or ask any questions.


The purpose of this Biogas CDM Project activity is to set up 5000 biogas plants (digesters) of 2 m3 capacity each for single households in the 5 Mandals of Anantapur District in which SEDS operates (Roddam, Somandepalli, Chilamanthur, Penukonda, Gorantla), and in this way replace Non-Renewable Biomass with biogas for cooking and hot water heating.

Implementation of the project depends on the successful validation and registration of the project as a CDM project activity since the project will be financed completely from carbon revenues. There are social, environmental, economic and technological benefits which contribute to sustainable development.

Social benefits:
 Avoided health hazards associated with unmanaged waste in back yards and village streets
 Avoided health hazards from indoor air pollution; and reduced drudgery
Environmental benefits:
 Avoided local environmental pollution through a better waste management system; and soil improvement by providing high quality manure
 Avoided global and local environmental pollution and environmental degradation by switching from non-renewable biomass to renewable energy, leading to reduction of GHG emissions
Economic benefits:
 Savings to national economy by providing renewable cooking fuel instead of fossil fuels
 Higher productivity of workers as they have adequate cooking fuel supply
Technological benefits:
 Better biogas digester models, thus improving biogas yield.
 Training in chemistry of biogas for masons and users leading to improved scientific temper in community and more jobs.

Household Eligibility:

Any household situated within the 128 villages in which SEDS operates who owns at least one cow/buffalo, is prepared to collect the required amount of substrate to feed the biogas digester on a daily basis and has room enough to fit the unit is eligible to participate in this project provided they also:

• Agree to assist a biogas mason in the construction of the biogas unit
• Agree to the proper use of the biogas unit and to utilize the SEDS biogas maintenance team to ensure their unit is kept fully operational for the duration of the project lifetime (3 - 7 year crediting periods)
• Agree to stop burning non renewable firewood and kerosene to meet their cooking energy requirements as long as their biogas unit is kept in full working condition.

Biogas Unit Design / Construction:

Each digester comprises the following main installed components made of brick and cement:
 A digester measuring 2.1 metres in diameter, and 1.545 metres internal height from bottom of digester to top of dome
 45 cm high mixing tank with internal wall length of 45 cm
 An optional additional acidification tank for pre-treatment of substrate may be built
 An outlet tank with an outlet opening of 60 cm and a height of 25.7 cm above the ground, covered by a cement slab of 7 cm thickness and area of 1 m x 1.17 m
 A pipe of between 5 and 100 metres in length leading from the top of the dome to the stove
 A 2-ring stove inside the house

The actual construction of the Biogas Units consists of 6 Activity Processes:

Activity Process Task
1. Selection of participating families
2. Defining Masons
3. Defining Material Suppliers
4. Monitoring Construction Progress a. Marking
b. Excavation
c. Supplying crushed stone Jelly
d. Supplying Sand
e. Supplying Bricks
f. Supplying Cement
g. Supplying Hardware
h. Concreting
i. Brick work
j. Plastering
k. Filling Gobar
l. Supplying Stove
m. Fixing Pipe & Stove
n. Fixing Safety Grill
5. Commissioning
6. Generating End User Agreements

Implementation and monitoring team:

The project implementation and monitoring team will comprise of the following:

• CDM coordinator: To be appointed by the SEDS board of trustees, and who will then manage the project on a full time basis.
• Project Staff: 1 database manager, 10 biogas field workers. These will be appointed by the CDM coordinator.
• Masons: 50 individuals will be selected through the village organisations to partake in an apprenticeship programme through which they will be fully trained as biogas masons. Each will then be contracted, on a piece-rate basis, for the construction of these 5000 units.
• Village level volunteers: Each village organisation selects a village level volunteer on an annual basis. This volunteer will maintain a daily usage register for each unit built in their village and enter them into the digitized monitoring system on a monthly basis.
• A maintenance team will be appointed post implementation to ensure that all units are fully operational for the lifetime of the project.

Biogas Mason Apprenticeship scheme:

The 50 masons selected for the apprenticeship programme will spend 2 weeks working under a fully trained biogas mason of the Bagepalli Coolie Sangha, in Kolar district of Karnataka state. The BCS already has 127 fully trained masons and will be building 18000 units as part of the Biogas CDM Project of Bagepalli Coolie Sangha from 2009 to 2012

Financing of the project and distribution of future carbon revenues:

The project will be financed by the forward sale of the certified emission reductions (CER’s) generated in the first 7 year crediting period to a carbon investor. This investor will only be identified once the project has gained full validation from the Gold Standard (an independent quality assurance standard for carbon credits) as this will put the project in a stronger stance when negotiating the sale price of the resultant CER’s. A price of 12 Euros per CER will be sufficient to cover the costs of building all of the units and ensuring a maintenance team is in operation to ensure all remain fully operational.

After fulfilling the initial 7 year crediting period 80% of all future CER revenues will be paid out to the each of the women running the biogas unit. The remaining 20% will be set aside in a long term fixed deposit account and be used to pay the salaries of the SEDS maintenance staff, to cover all costs of repair and to provide grants to end users facing a shortage of substrate. This could happen due to loss or death of cattle, temporary shortage of fodder faced by a particular family, etc.

At the end of the project’s lifetime any funds remaining in the account will be distributed to the end users accordingly.