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Closed Biomass briquettes - an African women initiative for the environment!

Tanzania is rapidly losing its primary forests. With a growing population the demands for wood are high. There is a simple solution to this problem: biomass briquettes made from organic waste.

B. Apfelbeck from B. ApfelbeckWrite a message

Tanzania is rapidly losing its primary forests. With a growing population the demands for wood are high: most Tanzanians do not cook with electricity or gas but with charcoal or firewood fuelled stoves. There is a simple solution to this problem: biomass briquettes made from organic waste. We would like to initiate the production of biomass briquettes with a women group in the Mbeya region of South Western Tanzania by providing the necessary equipment and a hands-on workshop in collaboration with the Tanzanian company ARTI energy (http://arti-africa.org/). Biomass briquettes are a simple and powerful way to reduce the pressure on Tanzanian forests and at the same time promotes local business, economic development and can especially also empower women.

It is now widely recognized that deforestation is occurring at pandemic rates throughout the developing nations. The deforestation is so predominant that complete denudation is forecast in many areas within the next decades. It is also well known that many people earn their income from fuel wood and charcoal production, distribution and sales. Therefore, forest destruction will continue unless an equally attractive employment opportunity is found in the provision of a sustainable fuel alternative.

Examples are the villages Mwale and Chimala in the South West of Tanzania that lie at the foot of the Southern Highlands. The Southern Highlands are home to 12 recently discovered vertebrate species and are the source of the Great Ruaha River that is a critical water source for the Ruaha National park and the communities living at the foot of the Southern Highlands. The aim of our project is to reduce logging for charcoal production and collection of fuel wood in the forests of Chimala and Mwale by offering an alternative to charcoal and fuel wood to the local communities. ARTI Energy is currently producing biomass briquettes (Mkaa Mkombozi) in partnership with Bagamoyo Brikwiti Company. There is currently no biomass briquette production in the Mbeya region.

By establishing a community-based biomass briquettes production from organic waste that would gradually replace charcoal and fuel wood we will:
Decrease deforestation and the negative consequences of deforestation on soil erosion, water management and wildlife in the Mbeya region.
Establish a market for biomass briquettes as a fuel wood alternative.
Empower at least 15 women to economic independence by increasing their direct income as new biomass briquette producers.

Our team consists of 15 women of our neighbourhood in Mwale that are all personally known to us. Our neighbour Anyesi M. Mkwama will lead the women and the production of biomass briquettes. The money raised through betterplace will be used to pay the costs of the course by ARTI Energy and all necessary materials to start the production of biomass briquettes. The organization of the course will be led by Beate Apfelbeck and Musa Makomba.