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Briquette Training

by Community Forests International on January 24, 2011

For three days last week we were joined by two Kenyan biomass fuel briquette experts who put on an excellent training session for the members of Chasasa and Shumba Vyomboni community nurseries. Mary and Francis Kavita have been making briquettes and training communities around Eastern Africa for over ten years now and brought with them a wealth of experience and passion for alternative fuel making that quickly inspired all those in attendance. Over the course of the session community members learned how to create solid biomass fuel briquettes out of nothing more than what they could find lying on the ground around them. Under the watchful eyes of the Kavita's our group of about 15 (mostly women) successfully created briquettes from materials such as sawdust, mango leaves, goat manure, charcoal dust, grass and rice husks. The training was hailed as an overwhelmingly success by students and teachers alike. The pod presses were originally implemented by CFI to create organic seedling containers that would allow the communities to ween themselves off the expensive and wasteful black plastic bags traditionally used in tropical tree nurseries. With the addition of briquette making to their skill sets the communities will now be able to double their efforts in conserving Pemba's forests by providing alternative cooking fuels to firewood or charcoal, lessening the strains on local forests. In addition they hope to sell the briquettes at local markets, hoping to provide themselves with a modest income to help cover nursery related costs.

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