BELABA : After a week of training, the new group at Belaba is now able to produce rice-straw charcoal. The group of 7 women successfully learned the technique and will now be gathering all the rice-straw around the Moundou area. Kevin Bandedje and Livier Sandoval did an excellent job at training. These women are under the leadership of an association created specifically for the charcoal project. The association is called APRO-ECO, which stands for Association pour la Protection de l´Ecosystème (The Protection of the Ecosystem Association). ENVODEV and APRO-ECO are engaged at working closely together to best bring this new charcoal into the local community.
Authorizations: ENVODEV and APRO-ECO are working at receiving the necessary permits and authorizations from the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Environment before any sales take place. Authorities have informally approved our project and we are working on the next steps to obtain official approval.
Production: In the meantime, it is crucial to have a group such as APRO-ECO working on gathering the rice-straw before it is burned, which would leave us without the key raw material for an entire year.
Raising Awareness: Beyond the Belaba community, APRO-ECO and ENVODEV will be working at introducing the rice-straw charcoal, and raising awareness about its environmental and health benefits. Most people are content with either illegal charcoal, or raw wood for cooking. The only alternative to date is bottle natural gas, but even in a city like Moundou, second largest city in Chad, it is hardly available. Either the city is out of stock, or if it on the market, it is far beyond the majority of the population´s means. Gas has actually been out of stock on the entire Chadian territory for over a month now.
Rice-straw charcoal will be cheaper than regular illegal wood charcoal. Also, rice-straw charcoal does not smoke, making it cleaner and improving the air quality around the cooking area.(Photo : Thérèse, Livier, Micheline, Aude, Ramada, Mélanie, Kevin, Martine)