Louise Waddell

15 November 2017

I had the pleasure of interning for two months at the Biogas Rumah (BIRU) Central Java office. As I am still completing my undergraduate degree in sustainable development and international aid and development I was slightly nervous about what I had to offer to BIRU. However, Pak Willem Leang, the Provincial Coordinator for this office, made it clear that there was no need to be concerned as he understands I am still learning. Pak Willem and the team at BIRU ensured my time here would be an opportunity to share everything there is to know about digesters, biogas, bio slurry and subsidies in Indonesia. We also took the time to enjoy eating delicious Indonesian food together, visit temples, tea plantations and generally show me the beauty of Java.

We spent days meeting users across the Yogyakarta area and I got to see first-hand the benefits of biogas and the BIRU approach. I appreciate that BIRU doesn’t believe in building digesters for free, they want their users to be proud and have ownership. What I loved most about the BIRU program is that it isn’t just about the gas, it is the whole package of owning a digester that can enhance people’s life’s by utilising the bio slurry as well.

I had the opportunity to travel to the office in Malang, East Java where majority of users are utilising their bio slurry to replace generic fertilisers and pesticides. It was a great experience to meet so many happy farmers who were proud to boast their latest crop of chilies, papayas and various other vegetables that had improved phenomenally since using the bio slurry. Pak Wasis (Provincial Coordinator of East Java office) was kind enough to arrange a visit to the Nestle Factory where I learnt about how Nestle is helping subsidise digesters for dairy farmers, under the guidance of BIRU and its Construction Partners.

My time here has been an incredible experience, I have learnt SO much and I cannot thank the team at BIRU enough for their enthusiasm and energy. Shout out to Mbak Siti who I shared a kos with, thanks for making me feel at home and providing endless laughs. For anyone who is considering interning here, go for it! I was able to contribute articles to the website, learn about Javanese culture and get a taste of agriculture and renewable energy in Indonesia. Pak Basuki even took the time to teach us how to draw the layout to build a digester, so who knows hopefully in the future I can use the BIRU fixed dome design and spread the biogas love.