Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
The Community that we engage is mainly the Ugandan rural poor farmers. The lack of modern and affordable fuels for domestic use has forced both urban and rural populations to depend entirely on wood charcoal and firewood as a source of cooking fuel. The situation is exacerbated by ever rising costs of the other alternative sources of energy, namely Hydro-electric power, Kerosene and Gas. Women take most burden of looking for firewood in the rural Uganda and have to walk long distances. This does not only reduce on the time required for agricultural production activities but also interferes with the household chores. The result is less production, low incomes and hence food insecurity. Agriculture in the rural areas is mainly subsistence and quite rudimentary, and does not provide the necessary jobs for the rising youthful population. As such many youth tend to migrate to the urban areas in search of jobs which are few and mainly in the service and construction. At pilot stage of this project, women formed between (70-80) percent of the training participants. They formed groups in order to benefit from government credit schemes such as the Savings and Credit Corporative Organizations (SACCO) to promote production of charcoal briquettes as a sustainable business. Two private companies also emerged to take advantage of the opportunities to manufacture charcoal briquettes to supply the supermarkets in Kampala.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
The Project is innovative in the following ways; Crop production is the main economic activity of the majority of farmers in the country. Of these crops, sugar cane, maize, sorghum, rice, finger millet, beans, ground nuts and Soya beans provide tones of agricultural waste at harvest time. In addition to these, industrial off-cuts of timber, sawdust, coffee husks, first growing tree species such as eucalyptus, waste grass generated through slashing/mowing compounds and open grounds are other good raw material for manufacturing charcoal briquettes for economic gains and the activities provide employment to many farmers, youth and women in the rural areas thereby reducing the high level of rural-urban migration. Once adopted and in full operation, Charcoal Briquettes making will reduce dependence on wood charcoal and firewood as the main sources of cooking fuel. This technology is innovative in that; it prevents environmental degradation through tree cutting and soil baking since it uses agricultural waste and already made potable kilns for processing. It also has the following merits; it is scientific and researched, it is standardized, reliable and sustainable, it was developed for developing countries, it is environmentally supportive and clean, it is compact and efficient, it is simple and user-friendly, it is low cost and affordable, it is commercially viable and can generate income and it is internationally awarded and acclaimed.