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 conservation locally.
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.