As the month of May begins, we are pleased to give you a report on our charcoal project. You can read the regular field reports on the Global Giving
page of our project.
Since the official launch of the Eco-Charcoal project in the first week of December 2012, the preliminary phase of our program is drawing to an end with the approach of the rainy season. ENVODEV has reached out to five different communities that have either received full training in the pyrolysis process (carbonization of biomass such as rice- or sesame-straw) or a preliminary demonstration in how pyrolysis works. Nya, the area that represents the greatest potential in terms of biomass availability, got a demonstration. Though showing a strong interest and readiness to learn, the group at Nya was not organized enough to receive the full training and equipment, according to the criteria our Chadian staff requires for any group that wants to participate in the project. Participating groups must have a well-organized structure
, financially participate
in the training we offer, and demonstrate the capacity
to manage the transactions of raw materials from their pyrolysis site to our production center in Moundou. We are confident that by the beginning of the next dry season, the group in Nya will be ready to receive training. Nevertheless, the amount of exchanges as well as our demonstration in December have already prepared the ground for Nya to be part of the 2013-14 program.
Our team has done tremendous work to bring pyrolysis demonstrations and full training to three other village groups. Tilo, Badei and Domane are three new villages within our program. We have had the opportunity to work with organized groups within these three villages, to train and fully equip them (see pictures below).
Each group has gained experience in the pyrolysis process and has already begun to send carbonized biomass to our production center in Moundou, though still on a small scale. Our production center in Moundou will receive a first shipment of carbonized biomass from the most recently trained group in the village of Domane.Where does Belaba fit in the picture?
Back in November, we had the great pleasure of inaugurating the charcoal project at Belaba. Authorities, friends, press, and representatives of businesses and organizations were all invited and present. The group at Belaba, called APRO-ECO, has played an important role and will be among the villages that participate in the pyrolysis process (see map below).
Christine Dadje, president of APRO-ECO, is among the members of the group that has accompanied ENVODEV in the training of the groups in Tilo, Badei and Domane. APRO-ECO will remain as a source of training power for future groups, and continue to directly contribute to the production process.
Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have regarding our program. We will be glad to give you more information. Thank you
to all of you who have financially participated in this phase of the program, to all of you who have been following us, sharing our efforts in Chad to friends and family. We're eager to see the production phase take shape in the days and weeks to come!
- David De Armey
Tilo: Kosguelbe Group
14 January 2013
Number of people trained: 17
Badei: Madjilebé Group
22 February, 2013
Number of people trained: 30
Domane: Mekasna Group
09 April, 2013
Number of people trained: 09
Domane TrainingGhislain Rodoumbaye, ENVODEV Administrator, oversaw the training of the Domane group. To the left, Christine Dadje shows trainees how to fill the kiln used for the pyrolysis process. She explains the density of the biomass required, and trains them step-by-step in the carbonization of all the sesame-straw the group gathered for the project. The members of the Mekasna group are eager to learn. Domane is about 45 miles away from Moundou. Much of the road/path between Domane and Moundou is closed during the rainy season, cutting the villagers off from economic activity for up to five months each year. Participating in the Eco-Charcoal project is, for them, a valuable additional source of income.
Current & Upcoming Activities-Check out our new website!We've simplified it.
-In June, tests on improved cookstoves will take place in Moundou.
Charles Dokmo, our intern, will be spending two months in Chad. Charles will be doing research in N'Djamena for the charcoal project, expanding our contact network, and spending time in Moundou with our team in view of implementing improved cookstoves.
What are improved cookstoves?
Read more: Improved Cookstoves
| |Charcoal Program
With the Eco-Charcoal groups being trained throughout south-western Chad, a centralized location is being studied and developed in Moundou, the second largest urban area of the country. Urban centers suffer most from lack of fuels for cooking and heating. The centralized production and sales point will be a way to offer safe and efficient cooking fuel to the city, and an opportunity to earn income for the villages that participate in the program. To do so, ENVODEV is looking to build facilities for production, storage and sales, and purchase a new vehicle to ensure more decentralized training, follow-up inspections, quality control, and safer transportation for our staff. See exactly what the program is about.
Not signed-up to our email list? Do so here and receive our newsletters directly, and stay up to date! I want to sign-up!
Meinhild Selbach has been volunteering for ENVODEV since May 2012. Based in Lyon, France, she assists David De Armey in administrative and accounting activities. She has helped develop a valuable system to enhance communication between France, the United States, and Chad. In February 2013, ENVODEV had the privilege sending Meinhild to Moundou to meet and train our staff.
Meinhild shares her impression of Chad and the Eco-Charcoal project:
Meinhild Selbach - During my visit to Chad in February 2013 I had the privilege of joining ENVODEV’s administrator Ghislain to the village of Tilo – about 20 km (13 miles) east of Moundou.
Leaving Moundou meant also leaving the asphalt road. The road out to Tilo was just sand.
Very early during my stay in Chad I observed that Chadians are very willing to learn and later I discovered that they are fast learners.
| || |
Let’s take the example of these four young guys. They followed everybody on the fields and sat there for a very long time just observing what the men were doing. One of them started helping and very soon his three friends followed his example.
Chadians use an expression that would be literally translated “You have hands like a goat” which is used to say “you are unable to deal with the situation that’s before you like a goat that is not able to remove a difficulty in its way”.
I think the opposite is actually true. Chadians are able to deal with difficulties and are most of all able to learn new things.
They have to change paradigms. They need to learn to think outside of their “box”. Traditionally, rice straw is burned since it withers very slowly. That’s what everybody knows. When kids living in Tilo started playing with the straw and setting it on fire, they did not think of it as a bad thing. The youth needs to learn about carbonization and the need for it. Living in the village, they do not necessarily understand how valuable briquettes made from rice straw are to people in the nearby city of Moundou. Only when they know the value of the straw, they will understand that they have to protect it.
ENVODEV’s activities have been expanding around Moundou this year.
The day after our visit to Tilo, I joined Ghislain and ENVODEV’s Tchadian Director Dadje Aquilas to the village of Badeï. Badeï is about 16 miles west of Moudou.
Again, soon after leaving Moundou, we left the aspalt road and continued on a sand road.
The goal of ENVODEV’s visit to Badeï was to show the process of carbonization to a “groupement” of women. This time sesame straw was used.
| || |
Again I was impressed by how fast everybody was joining in to help – sometimes even before things had been explained. Ever since that visit in February, the women of Badeï have been busy carbonizing sesame straw.
The couple of hours in Badeï have been a personal highlight of my time in Chad.
- Meinhild Selbach
The couple of hours in Badeï have been a personal highlight of my time in Chad. Photo: Meinhild receiving a gift in Badeï
Moundou - 20 April 2013 - It took armed forces to keep people under control. Domane, located beyond Badei, had heard about ENVODEV's training sessions in the area. When Dadje Aquilas organized a demonstration and training session with the Domane group called Mekasna, many merchants, businessmen, and cultivators eagerly came. The training took place on the last day of the month of March.
The crowd that turned up forced Ghislain Rodoumbaye, our administrator, to find the village chief and ask for help. The chief sent his armed forces to keep people from mingling with Mekasna group. A total of nine members of the group received direct training and equipment while dozens of people watched. While stressful, the high level of interest and enthusiasm is always encouraging. Many are excited to discover that what was once waste can become a source of income.
By the end of the month, a first shipment of carbonized biomass bags should arrive from Domane to our production site in Moundou.
Photos: The photos might become redundant... fields, people, a simple kiln, agro-waste... perhaps our lovely vehicle. We are happy to share these key moments though. The training phase, out in the fields, is where all operations have to begin. Our staff in Chad is always eager to share what they are doing with all of you!
Urgent needs: Our vehicle has explored African roads, paths and bush for over 20 years, and it is showing signs of much desired retirement. With increasing technical problems and car parts breaking, the need for a solid new vehicle has become a pressing matter. Doing demonstrations, training and equiping carbonization partners is not possible without a vehicle. We will keep you posted on solutions and how you can get involved.
- David De Armey
Rodoumbaye Ghislain, ENVODEV Chad Administrator in Badei.
In just 18 hours our Eco-Charcoal Project received a total of $892! Thank you to all of you who have not only participated yesterday, but to all those who have been supporting the project since the beginning.
The fundraising bonus day yesterday brought our total to $6,460 since the day we launched our fundraising campaign. Without nearly 70 different donors, our charcoal project could not have progressed the way it has so far.
Please take the time to visit our fundraising page here, and read our reports. You can also stay informed through our email updates.
Thanks again on behalf of the entire ENVODEV Team!
Taking energy to people. ENVODEV vehicle transporting kilns to Tilo.
Moundou - 20 January, 2013. - The Eco-Charcoal Project, well on its way, has taken our staff to Nya and to new areas outside Moundou. We could not have reached them without local insight and connections that our staff has. The local leadership taking place is a demonstration of one of ENVODEV's core values: That local managers feel ownership of the projects.
After a preliminary demonstration in Tilo, the ENVODEV team went back to impart a full training session. Dadje Aquilas and Ghislain were helped by two members of APRO-ECO, Ramadji Zizel and Chrisine Dadje.
On January 14, a total of 17 people, all members of KOSGUELBE, learned how to transform biomass (sesame chaff and rice-straw) into char. Well organized, KOSGUELBE is now producing bags of carbonized biomass. On the 6th of February, ENVODEV will return to Tilo to evaluate how well the team is carbonizing the biomass and will pick up the first batch of char bags for briquette production back in Moundou.
Tilo is an exciting addition to the charcoal project. The villagers are motivated and grateful to be part of a project that will provide a new and much needed source of income. The district chief was present at the training, marking the importance of what this charcoal project represents to the local population.
| || |
"For many, being in a photo is only something they have heard of..."
All photos have been sent directly from ENVODEV's office in Moundou. We know how important pictures are for everyone who is involved in this project. We keep the pictures at a relatively low resolution quality so they can be sent back to our main office in France.
What does a photo represent?
For supporters and donors, photos are proof of progress. Pictures are some of the most powerful tools to convey a message. We hope you appreciate the ones we send you from Chad.
For Chadians, to be in a picture is a rare and exciting opportunity. For many, being in a photo is only something they have heard of, and when the act of taking a picture is about to take place, some are afraid; fearing that perhaps the camera will cause pain in order to take the image. Once the picture is taken, and they have the opportunity to see themselves, it is a great excitement to them. They do not take a picture for granted.
On a technical level, a picture is also significant. In a city that only receives arbitrary electrical energy, it is not easy to charge the batteries of a camera. Solar energy is hardly exploited due to lack of infrastructure, and city power can only provide a total of three to four months of sporadic energy a year. Apart from the energy issue, sending a picture from Moundou to France is a technical challenge because internet access is scarce, expensive and weak. A 15-30 kbps connection is the typical speed. This means sending one picture can take several minutes, and cost modem connection several dollars. From 6 am to 8 pm, internet connection is often non-existent, meaning sending a picture has to be done at night.
Therefore, we are thankful to share any picture that comes from Chad with you. We are also grateful to our Chadian team for the efforts they put into sending these photos and for the work they are doing.
Ghislain holding sesame chaff near Ndjamena (Nov. 12)
Moundou - ENVODEV Chad is pleased to announce that the tests they have been making on sesame chaff have been positive. Sesame is grown across southern Chad, and like rice-straw, is burned after harvest.
On 09 November our team tried carbonizing sesame chaff just east of N'Djamena. Since those preliminary tests, Aquilas, Ghislain, and members of APRO-ECO have been collecting sesame chaff in Moundou to get enough char to make briquettes.
According to Aquilas, the charcoal briquette quality equals that of the rice-straw charcoal. This news comes at a great time as ENVODEV is in the process of turning this project into a larger sustainable vocational program (Charcoal as Vocation
Along with this encouraging discovery for our project, our ENVODEV staff in Chad has been working closely with villagers of Tilo and Belaba to test a new form of binder. The current binder used to make the briquettes is manioc, a root also known as Kassava. But manioc remains our number one cost for briquette making, and the cost is fairly high. That expense will decrease with time as ENVODEV forms partnerships with local manioc cultivators, but in the meantime, a cheaper binder would be more than welcome to find. Women of Belaba made a new binder from a plant that grows in the wild. This plant, used to make a basic sauce called Tan Koul, is much more abundant and available than manioc, and in terms of cost, represents only one fifth of what manioc costs.
Both the discovery of sesame chaff as a new form of bio char and the wild plant as an alternative binder will inevitably help the eco-charcoal project become more accessible to everyone, and more easily sustainable.
Project Area (click to enlarge)
Since the beginning of December, the ENVODEV Chad Team has been working relentlessly at making the charcoal project happen. After a successful demonstration and preliminary training at Nya, we have been in the process of building new carbonizing kilns to transform as much rice-straw as possible. Fidel, the leader of the Nya Team, warned us that cultivators have already begun burning away rice-straw in their fields, and that we need to move quickly and do a full-training session as soon as possible. A full training session will last three to five days, and require funds we are still in the process of gathering. Global Giving has yet to begin the disbursement of funds raised during the December Challenge, during which over $5,000 USD was collected.
In the meantime, our ENVODEV Team has explored another area where rice is extensively cultivated. Dadje Aquilas and Rodoumbaye Ghislain reached a location called Tilo, just 20 km east of Moundou. This area is very productive, and a local team is already set up to receive training in Tilo. Dadje Aquilas and Djems, a Chadian volunteer, performed a first carbonization demonstration at Tilo, and have greatly motivated the new Team called "KOSGUELBE," which means Supporting a Village. Tilo will reinforce charcoal production capacity by sending carbonized rice-straw back to Moundou, where charcoal briquette production will actually take place.
By contributing to our project, you are participating in the economic development and environmental protection of Chad. Thank you for your support, and for taking interest in one of the most neglected regions of the world.
David De Armey
as it gets colder and colder in the US, it's getting hotter and hotter in Chad! It has reached 100'F almost every day this month. It's not kept our team from staying very busy with the charcoal project. We have been running a few tests; carbonizing new forms of biomass such as sesame straw, and corn stocks. Our tests have been very successful, which means we're amplifying the range and amount of biomass that can be used for briquette production. We're excited about this!
In the meantime, we spent Sunday the 9th in Nya. We gathered members of the future production team and given them an initial training session. They are eager to get started. The equipment for Nya has been prepared already, but we still need to purchase protection masks, work suits, gloves, and increase the number of kilns. This is where your support comes in. We will not be able to move forward without your investment.
We are just over half-way our December objective! Thank you!!
So let me briefly explain how production will work!
1. We train and equip "carbonization" teams. They are the owners of the vast rice fields around Nya. They will only focus on just carbonizing it all.
2. We train a group of briquette makers in Moundou, who will purchase the carbonized straw from the field owners.
3. Manioc cultivators will intensify their production, and sell the manioc directly to the briquette makers.
4. The briquettes will be sold on the local market in Moundou, where charcoal is the most urgently needed.
5. The earnings will pay for the briquette makers, and provide enough funds to keep buying manioc and carbonized rice-straw from the Nya team.
Your investment in this project will be generating economic activity for at least 20 people, and that number will rise the more people we can train to carbonize rice straw and other types of agro-waste. Manioc cultivators will also greatly benefit from intensifying their manioc production. Your investment will also provide the city of Moundou with a legal and valuable form of cooking fuel. The money that is usually spent on illegal charcoal and wood will be used to stimulate economic activity among poor rural cultivators.
Thank you for reading! We'll continue to inform you as the project moves forward,
Click on the pictures for more information on the charcoal project.
Moundou, Chad (NEWS) -
we have been working hard with our APRO-ECO team (Protection of the Ecosystem Association). APRO-ECO is the Moundou-based Eco-charcoal production team ENVODEV has worked with for the past year. ENVODEV has been training three members of APRO-ECO who will assist us in training the future Nya team. In the meantime, ENVODEV has met with people in Nya, who are now getting organized and mobilizing local rice cultivators so they do not burn the rice straw.
What have we been doing exactly this week? We've been collecting rice-straw from around Moundou, and gotten the three APRO-ECO members to carbonize it. They have been working intensively. Though the method is straightforward, we are going over each and every detail of the pyrolysis process. When the time comes, either next week or the following, APRO-ECO Team will be ready to give a solid training in Nya.
We've collected a lot of rice-straw, and this training period has already given APRO-ECO the ability to produce a good amount of briquettes (some 1000 briquettes in the past 2 days).
Thanks for your support. Everyone is asking for these briquettes, whether it is our neighbors or the governor of the region himself. This new form of cooking fuel is what it's all about!
See project page by clicking on photo:
Martine / APRO-ECO
Where have fifty years of traditional 'development' models left Chadians today?
is a loaded word, one which inevitably conjures multiple meanings. We might think of child development, business development, social development, rural development, software development, or even photographic development. The term has become so nebulous that we thought we should take the time to define what ‘development’ means to us; after all it’s part of our name.
As each new partnership opportunity has presented itself over the past year, we have been compelled to return to the essence of our name - En
terprise for Vo
elopment. The first two words are fairly straightforward and we read in them the same way Merriam-Webster would.
: A project or undertaking that is especially difficult, complicated, or risky. -Vocational
: Undergoing training in a skill or trade
The last word we have had to wrestle with, particularly because we are very aware of the pitfalls of replicating the failures of traditional international ‘development’ models. The oft unstated goal of donor countries providing AID to ‘developing’ nations is to turn their citizens into consumers who will eventually buy products from them. If a country ‘develops’ the idea goes, it will have the means to purchase more cars, phones, computers, and services from more ‘developed’ countries. As we ponder both the state and effects of ‘development’ in Chad, this idea leaves us disconcerted.
The state of ‘development’ in Chad is fairly straightforward. Over 80% of its people rely on subsistence farming and livestock raising for their livelihoods. ENVODEV does NOT consider this ‘backward’ something that should be ‘developed’ into a more advanced economic base. We are NOT interested in promoting a move away from millennial agricultural practices adapted to very specific micro-climates. The result of previous ‘development’ initiatives in the country have often had the negative effect of pushing more and more people away from their land and into cities where cramped conditions and severe energy shortages have contributed to the problems ENVODEV is now attempting to address through its programs, namely poor sanitation and deforestation.
Both our charcoal and composting projects continue to be established keeping these key ideas in mind:
- Positive change will only come about within the cultural framework of the Chadian people.
- We only take on projects relevant within their particular social environments.
- Resources are spent through apprenticeship programs
- Trainings must be relevant to the existing economic context and address local needs.
- Trainees own their business projects and make daily operational decisions about them.
We face many challenges in our development model. Because creating briquettes out of rice straw and encouraging people to compost their human waste does not create the types of value that many donor agencies are looking for, nor modify existing economic structures, our work often falls outside of traditional ‘development’ funding categories. While we continue to operate on a very lean budget, those of you who have invested in this work have contributed to bringing about much needed reform in the way ‘development’ is done in Chad. While much more could be written about the last word in our name, we trust that if you continue browsing through our site it will speak of our model for itself.