For long, refugees in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement in Kikuube District have suffered trekking more than 10 kilometres to Bugoma Forest in search of firewood. It’s tedious work and a risky daily journey through secluded areas especially for women and girls who are exposed to rape, defilement and all forms of gender-based violence (GBV). The search of firewood also exposes refugees to violent forms of conflict amongst themselves and their neighbors in the host community. It’s such a relentless struggle for women and girls, characterized by loss of valuable time to attend to productive cores of their home and business and even school on the part of children.

In the refugee settlement, there are limited alternative sources of cooking energy and thus dependence on biomass which is also in short supply is the only alternative.

A number of initiatives have been started by relief organisations to training and equip refugees to produce briquettes but these efforts have failed on the premise of poor production methods resulting in poor quality briquettes. Some groups that were introduced to more manual and less efficient methods meant that they could produce too little to meet the huge demand for energy.

In 2021, KRC Uganda in partnership with Care International and Africa Clean Energy introduce a rather modern technology of motorized briquette machines, and also using the solar powered ACE1 stoves to refugee groups. The briquette story has since changed for the better.

WEKA HAKIBA is one of the beneficiary groups, with a total of 25 members. In his testimony, Alphonsina Muhawe, the group chairperson says that the group is happy for the services provided by KRC, CARE and African Clean Energy. He has observed improved quality of the briquettes produced. The manual briquette machine given to the group by another relief agency had been producing only 20kgs-50kgs of briquettes per day but now with the motorized briquette machines, production capacity has increased to 300kgs per day.

A more specialized training in briquette production was done for the beneficiary groups. As a result, the quality of our briquette produced has improved because they know the right ratios for making a good binder for briquettes. The briquettes are now finding markets locally from their neighbor. However, mass production means that market beyond the settlement has to be found.

The smartphone component of the ACE1 stove is increasing opportunities for beneficiaries to communicate and market their products and skilled members can be hired to train other groups and individuals.

For WEKA HAKIBA group, the vision for expanding briquettes production is big and is currently hampered by the small production space. They want to build a stall in the market to sell briquettes and portable stoves to households, restaurants, schools, NGO staff and churches that may not buy ACE1 stoves but ye have alternative energy efficient cook stoves.

Title: KRC Uganda, Care and Africa Clean Energy partnership improves access to alternative energy sources

Author: Alfred Okeng, Environment and Energy Officer

Category: Environment and Energy

Publish Date: 2022-02-07

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