Final Evaluation of the International NMS Biogas Partnership Programme

About the publication

  • Published: March 2015
  • Series: --
  • Type: NGO reviews
  • Carried out by: Oméga Razanakoto (Team leader), Lars Kåre Grimsby, Guo Jing, Elisabeth Rabakonandrianina
  • Commissioned by: Det Norske Misjonsselskap
  • Country: Madagascar, China
  • Theme: Climate and environment
  • Pages: 52
  • Serial number: --
  • ISBN: --
  • ISSN: --
  • Organization: Det Norske Misjonsselskap
  • Local partner: Amity Foundation, China, and Malagasy Lutheran Church (MLC)/ Fiangonana Loterana Malagasy (FLM)
  • Project number: QZA-12/0763-141
NB! The publication is ONLY available online and can not be ordered on paper.


The International biogas program started in 2011, with the aim to transfer biogas technology from China, to Madagascar. The responsible partner in China is Amity Foundation. The Malagasy Lutheran Church (MLC) is the responsible partner in Madagascar. Norwegian Mission Society (NMS) has had a coordination role in the program. 

Amity Foundation had been working on biogas system building for poor farmers in China for many years. These projects were very successful, and the idea of an exchange program came up. The project started in October 2011, and continued until 2014. During 2015, the plan is to have a reflection year in Madagascar, to follow-up the evaluation, and make decisions on the future development.


The evaluation process is by itself expected to be seen as a learning tool for the partners (NMS, Amity and MLC), the project staff and the stakeholders. Recommendations are appreciated and will be taken into consideration for the further project work.

The evaluation report should

  • Identify the results of the program and compare them to the indicators set out in the PD.
  • Evaluate the impacts of training programs for the beneficiaries undertaken by the project.
  • Assess the impacts of the biogas digesters on the environment, the household economy and the health of the target group.
  • Draw lessons from all and make recommendations for future use
  • To identify Amity, MLC, and NMS’s impact on the result, successes and limitations of the project.

The team should focus on the three projects in the program

  1. Identify the results of the biogas project in Hunan province, China.
  2. The cooperation China Madagascar: What are the impacts in China and in Madagascar?
  3. Madagascar: Is the technique used in this project, appropriate for Madagascar?


The evaluation team has applied a learning, participative and gender-sensitive approach. The evaluation has included document studies of applications and reports, program policies and relevant document from NMS, MLC and Amity. The evaluation also has included interviews with beneficiaries, villagers who are not beneficiaries, project staff in MLC, government officials in Yongshun County, Amity, MLC administration, and NMS project staff in China and Madagascar. Key findings: The International NMS Biogas Partnership Programme (IBP) has transferred skills and technology from China to Madagascar for constructing a standardized 10 m3 fixed-dome biogas digester. The Chinese design has been used to build 212 digesters in three of MLC’s synods by Malagasy technicians. In China the programme built 500 digesters in Yongshun County, Hunan Province. The IBP has also supported construction of one 30 m3 digester at a school in China, and three 30 m3 digesters at schools in Madagascar. Women from the households that have received biogas digesters through the IBP have also received training in environmental awareness, household economy and potential income generating activities.

Outcomes of the IBP include

  • Technological skills have been transferred from Chinese to MLC’s technicians, as observed in the high quality of digesters in Madagascar.
  • In China, the appropriateness of the biogas technology in rural livelihoods is evident from 95% of the digesters built by the IBP being in use.
  • Biogas has freed time in the household, particularly noticeable in Madagascar. Training in household economy has enabled people to valorise the time saved.
  • Biogas and trainings appears to have had impact on perception of gender roles within the household, particularly in Madagascar. In China improved sanitary conditions, training in health, establishment of women’s development associations, and income generating activities have improved women’s daily lives.
  • From the trainings, women have gained ideas on how to improve household income. Some have initiated small entrepreneurial projects following trainings through the IBP in both China and Madagascar.
  • Biogas has had an important impact on hygiene in China with improved toilet facilities. Cleanliness and indoor air quality in the kitchen has improved in both countries.
  • Biogas has a positive impact on the local environment in both countries. Over time, this will be evident in Madagascar where firewood is very scarce and few alternative energy sources are available.


Recommendations from the exchange

  • Further collaboration and exchange could still be relevant between Amity and MLC, but for institutional capacity building and sharing ideas in diaconal work.
  • Future exchange programs would benefit from having more inclusion of organizations responsible for “activities on the ground” in the project development process, and clarify responsibilities and project organization in the PD.
  • Transfer of skills in biogas technology from China to other countries than Madagascar where NMS operates can have positive impact on rural livelihoods in these countries. Implementation could be simplified and costs reduced by limiting such a project to transfer of skills between technicians.
  • For long-term functionality of biogas, the Chinese design and mode of dissemination with strong post-construction support, is a promising way forward.

Recommendations from activities in China

  • For future projects, enhance the project planning at the beginning of project, especially the connection between activities and output and objective. Let the local partner participate in the whole procedure of planning to improve the common understanding on project goals between Norwegian donor organization, Amity and local partners.
  • To ensure that the WDAs established through IBP go on to contribute positively in women’s lives, the organizations would benefit from more training in management, including financial management, marketing, and leadership.

Recommendations from activities in Madagascar

  • Supply of accessories for biogas digesters already constructed.
  • Continue to provide technical support, even without continued project funding.
  • Training of ‘village technicians’ by FAFAFI that could provide local support for biogas users.
  • Construct digesters for those willing to pay the full cost of the digester.
  • Support establishment of biogas user associations.

Comments from the organisation, if any

The project was established as a pilot project to transfer knowledge from China to Madagascar. The risk was considered very high. The evaluation confirms that the technique used in China, is indeed very appropriate for Madagascar. In fact, it seems like the techniques are even more appropriate for Madagascar than China, because of the deforestation in Madagascar being worse than in China, and the access to different types of energy is easier in China.

During 2015, some farmers in Madagascar have asked to pay for their own biogas digester, if they may get access to kits (imported from China) and knowledge on how to build the digesters.

NMS and FLM are working with a new project application to establish more biogas digesters in Madagascar, from 2016.

Published 23.06.2015
Last updated 23.06.2015