Since 2009, I have worked closely with our briquette producer partner Cecile Nyirabahutu. With trainings at Rumangabo in DRC to Legacy Foundation’s briquette network conference in Tanzania, Cecile and I have learned a lot about alternative cooking fuel technologies. Art of Conservation in turn then helped Cecile set up her own income-generating business called Save the Forests Briquette Initiative. As you travel along the Kinigi road to park headquarters you’ll find Cecile and her family making and selling briquettes.
As Art of Conservation’s concentrated support toward Save the Forests Briquette Initiative winds down, we have no doubt Cecile can continue as well as train other communities bordering Volcanoes National Park. Recently, we helped Cecile put together a day of community trainings at her workshop. Trainings were both in the morning and afternoon.
The trainees were full of questions in which Cecile responded to in detail. Cecile then taught them about her mixture she has mastered for the briquettes. Once she finished providing a demonstration at the big wooden press she insisted everyone else take turns and try it themselves.
After learning from Cecile, Jean De Dieu Nyabyenda from Susa Community in Musanze District is determined to start a briquette project in his community. During my recent conversation with Jean, I asked him what his most important need was for him to start his own briquette workshop and he said he needed a press. This morning he came to our office and received a press as a donation from Art of Conservation.
A participant named Pastor Twizerimana Eliyezeri from Shingiro Environmental Cooperative said he thinks his cooperative can make and sell briquettes in addition to its usual activities. Likewise, let’s hope all the community briquette training participants will practice the great lessons taught by Cecile and together save Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park rain forest and improve the local population’s livelihoods.