Busoga Women Reap Big From Charcoal Briquettes

8511 Views Jinja, Uganda

In short
A number of women in Busoga region are reaping big from making environmentally friendly energy-saving charcoal briquettes. Charcoal briquettes are made from charcoal dust, cassava flour and wood dust by groups of women. They sell them to people at 50 and 100 shillings for a small and a big briquette respectively.

A number of women in Busoga region are reaping big from making environmentally friendly energy-saving charcoal briquettes.
 
Charcoal briquettes are made from charcoal dust, cassava flour and wood dust by groups of women. They sell them to people at 50 and 100 shillings for a small and a big briquette respectively.
 
The women who work under business groups say this has fetched them on average two million shillings per month. Some specialize in making the briquettes, while others do the sales and marketing.
 
Barbra Naisanga from Nawanyago village in Kamuli district, one of the beneficiaries from the charcoal briquettes project says it is not an expensive business to run. The charcoal ash is got free of charge from charcoal vendors and it is only the wood dust and cassava flour that is bought to make the charcoal briquettes. The cassava flour is boiled into porridge form to mix. She says three briquettes at a cost of 300 shillings can boil a kilogram of dry beans compared to charcoal worth 4000 shillings.
 
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Alice Kairugavu, a member of Skills Plus, a community based organization in Jinja, says starting the entire project requires at least 2.5 million shillings to buy two compressing machines and other materials used for making charcoal briquettes.
 
She says because the briquettes are energy efficient and take longer to burn than normal charcoal, most of the clients are hotels and restaurants that need to save on the money used to buy charcoal or use electricity.
 
Ernest Nabihamba, Jinja Senior Environment Officer, commends the use of energy efficient charcoal briquettes as they limit the cutting down of trees for charcoal and are environmentally friendly because they don’t emit carbon.

Hakim Birigwa, Director Skills plus Uganda says the project was started in Bugembe after realizing many slum women had no sources of income and jobs. He says Skills plus Uganda trains women from the region in making charcoal briquettes and employs 33 women at the charcoal briquettes project.
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