30 May 2013

Gambia: Fuel Briquettes Boost Women's Domestic Savings

The introduction of fuel briquettes by Green Tech Company as an alternative to firewood and charcoal is proving to be more cost-effective, and consequently boosting the domestic savings of many women in the country, the Daily Observer finds out.

The company produces briquettes from groundnut shells as an alternative to firewood and charcoal meant to protect the environment and country's forest recourses. Beside serving as an alternative to these locally made fuel, the briquette production is also meant to protect the environment and the forest resources.

But according to the 'Takulegay' women mobiliser, who was speaking to this reporter in an interview, Maimuna Jammeh, the briquettes enable women to cut expenditure on firewood, thus boosting their savings. Impressed by this innovation, Jammeh said she can only encourage her fellow women to embrace fuel briquettes and stove to avoid huge spending on firewood and charcoal. This alternative she said is user-friendly and that it could also improve their health status. "The briquettes cost less compared to the firewood and charcoal and produces less smoke, with no health implications. Our organisation's partnership with Green Tech has saved many of our members from spending much money on firewood and charcoal," she said. The 15-year-old organisation, according to Jammeh, has been working closely with Green Tech Company in promoting and protecting the environment and the forest resources.

"We need to support the government in protecting our forest resources, as irresponsible exploitation of our forest resources will expose the country to climate change and desertification," she warned. Green Tech is a private businesses company that responds to the actual poverty situation, up-winding energy crises and the environmental challenges in The Gambia. In a separate but similar development, Green Tech Company recently convened a day's forum as part of its awareness creation on the importance of environmental protection and the use of its alternative fuel briquettes for cooking.

The forum was held at the Abuko Upper Basic School in the West Coast Region. Speaking on behalf of the minister of Basic and Secondary Education, the principal education officer, Gibril Barry, informed that the Ministry has a cross-cutting and mainstreaming policy directions towards the environment. Barry thanked the Green Tech Company for introducing briquettes in schools, saying the initiative is welcomed by the Ministry in its school feeding programme. "The Ministry and Green Tech have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to make the work easy for both parties," he indicated.

The Green Tech project coordinator, Lenja Guenther, told the gathering that the company works in line with national and international strategies. She said the company has since its inception been striving hard to raise awareness on the need to protect forest resources by using groundnut shell briquettes as an alternative source of fuel for cooking.

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