Uganda has lost nearly 80% of its forests since the 1960’s (UNDESA, 2012) and this has had profound negative impact on people’s lives because over 80% of Uganda’s population still depends on wood-based fuel (charcoal and firewood) for cooking. As forests disappear, prices of wood-based fuel particularly charcoal are rapidly increasing. A 2014 survey by NGO Everyday Stoves found that an average Ugandan household spends 40% of their total income on cooking fuel alone. Because of this, many poor households in Uganda are unable to cook regular meals and as a result, children go to school hungry and are unable to learn and sometimes, energy poor households even withdrawal children particularly girls from school and have them walk arduous distances to gather wood. Also, wood-based fuel is so smoky and leads to indoor air pollution. As a matter of fact, a 2015 report by Nature (one of the leading science journals) shows that indoor air pollution related to using dirty fuel-wood kills more people globally than HIV/AIDS and Malaria combined. These are the problems we seek to address at IMPACT through our energy project
We invented simple, locally-made and easy to use technology that local communities can use to convert locally made organic waste into clean cooking fuel which burn cleaner, burns longer and is 50% cheaper than charcoal from wood. Our green charcoal can also be used in the same stoves people already use which makes adoption easy. In 2016, we also introduced a low-cost cooking stove to enable people that still used three stone stoves to easily adopt our briquettes called green charcoal and now, all our groups also make cookstoves in addition to green charcoal
Using the above technology, we created a highly scalable and sustainable model through which we empower local marginalized women groups to launch clean energy micro-enterprises using our technology to make clean cooking fuel for their local communities. We call this micro-franchising. We created a revolving loan fund which enables us to provide upfront financing to these women groups to enable them launch. They then pay back once they start making enough income which then enables us to fund new groups.