Renewable energy and early warning for community-suitable development –
Ugandan women are marketing briquettes made from recycled waste while sensitizing communities to
sustainable development. “Renewable energy and early warning for community-suitable
development” facilitates the women in making and distributing long-burning briquettes. This
project has given these women a new way to earn a living, along with driving environmental
- 650 women targeted
- Capital from briquette sales reinvested in loan scheme for project growth
Rural areas face a number of stumbling blocks in terms of increasing the use of decentralized, modern, and
clean energy technologies. Government support for renewable energy mainly benefits large projects. Smaller
projects lacking the same startup capital are hit hardest by the high taxes.
Women in the Osukuru sub-county of the Tororo district in Uganda started a briquette-making project that
includes energy-saving stoves. The women make the briquettes out of rice husks, kitchen waste, sawdust,
paper waste, and ash. The “secret ingredient” of sand keeps the briquettes hot for longer. The
women are selling the briquettes under a campaign aimed at mobilizing and sensitizing communities to issue
of sustainable development, food security, home improvement, and health. The campaign also includes
spreading information and knowledge on better agricultural practices.
As part of a broader marketing campaign for their briquettes and rocket stoves, women sprout tree seedlings
and distribute these for free. The briquettes are sold as an alternative to gathered firewood and charcoal
that communities have been relying on for cooking.
Helping the planet
The briquettes recycle materials that would have gone to waste, transforming them into an alternative
energy source. Less use of charcoal and firewood, also through efficient stoves, prevents deforestation,
helping the land and preventing greenhouse gas emissions. Planting trees adds to forests, while
implementation of better farming practices makes more efficient use of natural resources.
Women have been able to earn a living through sale of the briquettes. The work has empowered them to better
face injustices they endure in the communities. It has also helped them become more resilient in the face
of changing climatic conditions. Whole communities benefit from a healthier natural environment, as well as
improved food security.
Materials to make such briquettes are easily available, while the technology used is simple – giving
the activity potential to be replicated. A loan scheme that reinvests some profits into further briquette
production helps the activity increase in scale. The recent receipt of a briquette dryer from the regional
government shows how partnerships can also help the project grow.
Images owned by the activity partners, all rights reserved.