Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Alternative to Charcoal is a Roaring Success - Part 2

A few days later the briquetting could begin! Isaiah walked every trainee through the process of actually making briquettes, how to get the most out of your materials, and the rules for drying the briquettes. There were some issues with the press itself, with the frame splitting and the separators cracking, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed.

--GVI vols collecting sawdust--

--Isaiah explaining some of the methods--

--The press in action--

After the 8 day training course was completed, it was a nervous time for FSF and GVI, as now we would see whether we had been able to change the minds of people who had been charcoal burning since childhood. We could not have been rewarded more – everyone who attended the course has decided to leave the forest for good, and attempt to make a living from alternative charcoal! Within days they had formed their own community group – Shimoni Environmental Association (SEA) – and are currently waiting for their official registration to come through. And this week, Isaiah is coming back from Nairobi with on of his briquette presses which he has been using for years successfully, which the group has paid for themselves.

--Isaiah with the first briquettes--

So in one fell sweep, 14 charcoal burners have left the forest for good. They have finally been given an alternative, some other way of getting money and supporting their families. And at least now they can be proud of their jobs, and will not always be looking over their shoulders for fear of arrest. It has been a long process with lots of hard work (most of the credit goes to kez Hobson), but for all in FSF and all of us here at GVI, it has been one of the most rewarding things we’ve ever done. And just think of all those trees that have been saved!

--The trainees with GVI vols--