Fueling an Environmentally and Financially Sustainable Africa

Posted by on January 4th, 2013

–>Who:  Sanga Moses, founder of…
–> What: …Eco-Fuel Africa, which turns farm waste into cheap, clean fuel briquettes, all while developing women entrepreneurs who manufacture and sell the briquettes in their local villages.
–> How: Listen to this interview and learn more about Eco-Fuel Africa.

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firewood fetching

On her journey to spotlight the people and organizations that are making the world move in new and exciting ways, Sonia Chokshi talks to Sanga Moses, founder of Eco-Fuel Africa and 2011 Unreasonable Fellow, at SOCAP’12.

In Uganda, energy is beyond scarce: a full 70% of the country’s forests have been depleted by deforestation, but 99% of Ugandans still depend on wood as their source of fuel. However, the problem reaches beyond just a need for wood. Wood-burning stoves are smoky and unclean. Deforestation contributes to climate change and persistent drought. Children spend hours a day walking to fetch wood, precious time that should be spent at school. Families cannot afford fuel, even selling their homes to procure such a precious resource.

When he became aware of the scope of this problem in his own family, Sanga Moses decided there must be an alternative. Embarking on this venture (and, at one point, even selling his own bed to finance it), Moses consulted university professors and students to produce an inexpensive, easily manufactured fuel briquette made of farm waste, such as cornhusks and sugarcane byproducts. Thus far, Eco-Fuel Africa is working to supply the farm waste from 1,500 farmers to provide fuel to 6,000 families.

The next step is scale. Using a micro franchising model, Eco-Fuel Africa will help set up a small manufacturing site in each village, run by a local female entrepreneur. With a revolving loan fund, they help the woman finance the investment in equipment, train her to start up the production and sales, and after she has repaid the loan, they shift to an advisory role, leaving her to manage her small enterprise herself. In this way, Moses hopes to scale to the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, providing energy to one million people by 2015.

Learn more about Eco-Fuel Africa.

 

This article is a part of a series produced at SOCAP12 by New Empire Builders. New Empire Builders is a SOCAP12 media partner.

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