United States volunteer service organisation, Peace Corps, has introduced energy saving fuel in Rwanda, in an effort to help conserve the environment by reducing the impact of deforestation.
The new technology, called green charcoal, is considered an environmentally safe method of charcoal production and sustainable alternative to wood charcoal. It’s also seen as an income generating activity for local families and organisations.
The green charcoal project has been implemented in selected areas in the Southern Province in partnership with local communities.
Currently, there are three trained community members who help produce more than 300 green charcoal briquettes daily.
The briquettes are created using a combination of biomass materials such as agricultural waste, leaves, grass and sawdust.
The material is chopped up and soaked in water, and then pressed with a manual ram and cylinder into a pellet and left in the sun to dry.
“The great thing about these green charcoal briquettes is that they do not require any destruction of forests or habitats to produce,” said Jarod Ring, who has been working as a health volunteer since February 2010.
Jarod is one of the brains behind the introduction of the energy saving fuel.
Following a two-day training session in northern Rwanda, the Peace Corps worked with community members and a local non-governmental organisation to purchase a green charcoal briquette press and train community members in green charcoal production.
“As word continues to spread about the importance of green charcoal, more community members will be employed.
Also, village resources and materials will continue to be recycled in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way,” Jarod added.
The Peace Corps organisation founded by former US President John F. Kennedy in 1961 was reopened in Rwanda in 2008 on the invitation of President Paul Kagame after it was interrupted by the Genocide in 1994.
Currently, there are 161 Peace Corps in Rwanda working in health and education sectors. More than 330 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Rwanda since the programme was established in 1975.