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Firewood and charcoal is used by 97 per cent of Ugandans for cooking. Such demand has led to huge swathes of Uganda’s forests being cut down. In addition, the smoke from burning this fuel in poorly ventilated homes often leads to respiratory problems.
After studying for a master’s degree in development studies, Betty Ikalany returned home wishing to give something back to her community. Finding that there was no affordable alternative to using the traditional charcoal and timber fuel for cooking, she set up a social enterprise employing 70 local people to manufacture briquettes, a sustainable new clean-burning fuel made from local agricultural waste.
In this film, we see how the briquettes are made and hear from Ikalany about her business and her vision for her community. We also hear from a local environment officer on the need to both replace the traditional timber and charcoal fuel, while also finding alternative sources of income for those who depend on cutting timber for their livelihoods. The manufacture of briquettes could be the solution, he says, providing employment while also saving Uganda’s trees.