Category Archives: Legacy Foundation

Cecile Provides Trainings For Community Members

From Innocent
From Innocent

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.

Cecile, at the far left, shares with community members her amazing story on how she started making and selling briquettes to improve her livelihood.

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.

Trainees are so impressed at Cecile’s speed in cooking a pot of rice with briquettes!

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.

Trainee Jean De Dieu Nyabyenda, pictured at the far right, has already acquired a briquette press from Art of Conservation and is ready to start a briquette project in his community.

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.

Consolee Nyirabatangana, a president of a cooperative called Igisubizo, smiles as she and others produce their first briquettes.

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.

The Power of Cecile … Helping Gorillas & Their Habitat One Briquette at a Time

Hi. Innocent here with the story behind Cecile’s award for her Save The Forests Briquette Initiative work.
Cecile with other winners at Northern Province awards ceremony.  AoC 2011Cecile with winners from other districts of the Northern Province line up in front of the VIPs at Ubworoherane Stadium waiting to receive their respective awards.

Valerie and I went down to Ubworoherane Stadium in Musanze Town to support Cecile’s recognition for number one top innovator by Rwanda’s Northern Province government leaders. She was looking extremely happy and longing to receive the award!

On this very day, leaders of Rwanda’s Northern Province recognized top innovators and also people from other disciplines that had been competing for weeks. So though this combination made things kind of delayed, Cecile eventually got publicly recognized! Wow!

Children's football/soccer teams compete.  Awards given.  Art of Conservation 2011Honorable Protais Musoni, Minister in Charge of Cabinet Affairs, gives an award to the Bulera District girls’ soccer team through their captain.

Executive Secretary Pelagie, Governor Aimee, Cecile, and Mayor Winifride.  AoC 2011.Once given the opportunity to speak, Cecile recognized leaders namely Mr. Aimé Bosenibamwe, Governor of Northern Province (on her right), Madame Winifride Mpembyemungu, Mayor of Musanze District (on her left), and Madame Pelagie Mukanyandwi, Executive Secretary of Nyange Sector where Cecile lives and makes briquettes (on the Governor’s right), and Art of Conservation for our support towards this unforgettable success.

Award ceremony in the Northern Province.  Save The Forests Briquette Initiative wins!  AoC 2011Cecile proudly holds her 200,000frw cheque and a statue in her hands!

As someone who works closely with Cecile, when Madame Pelagie – Executive Secretary of Nyange Sector where Cecile’s Save The Forests Briquette Initiative operates – told me the great news that Cecile was chosen by Rwanda’s Northern Province as top innovator, I was not terribly surprised by this though it was the other way round for most of people who heard this news, because I know how smart and determined a woman Cecile is and I am also completely aware of every effort AoC makes for the Cecile’s Save The Forests Briquette Initiative success.

This gives me hope that if Cecile keeps this great work up, she will win not only at province level, but at national and international level. This also makes me want to once again recognize Robert Williams, Jean Bosco Bichamakara, Elisha Moore-Delate, the Legacy Foundation, and other alternative cooking experts which AoC has been learning from. And guess what! It gives Cecile the honor to get recognized by the Northern Province! Last but not least, thank you AoC colleagues for all your continuing support towards the Cecile’s Save The Forests Briquette Initiative success.

Innocent in Arusha, Part 4 of Briquette Conference

Hi all, this is Innocent again reporting on the Legacy Foundation’s Biomass Briquette Producers’ Conference that Cecile, Immaculee, Ernest and I recently attended in Tanzania. Today’s blog, Part 4, is the last in a series, but I will continue sharing with you about our briquette initiative.

After listening to everyones presentations and after technology demonstrations we broke into groups to discuss marketing, quality and standardization, and planning for the formation of an Africa wide Briquette Producers Network.
Photo (c) Peter Stanley.Photo courtesy of Peter Stanley. Group discussions.

So now, in closing, I want to thank everyone again for the support and information sharing. I especially want to thank Joyce and Richard Stanley, Lisa from Community Forest International, Vicki from Sariko Olasiti Garden Lodge, Ziria, Drannan, Flavia, Paulin, Wazee Maombe and Charles and Ali.

Immaculee, Joyce, and Cecile in Tanzania.  AoC 2010.MGVP’s Immaculee with Joyce and Cecile.

Photo (c) Peter Stanley.Photo courtesy of Peter Stanley. The Briquetters!

Innocent in Arusha, Part 3 of Briquette Conference

Hi, this Innocent again with my continuing coverage of the Biomass Briquette Producers’ Conference in Arusha hosted by the Legacy Foundation.

After our presentations and discussions, we briquetters from all corners of Africa go outside for technology demonstrations with our presses, stoves, mashers, and briquettes.
Richard and Cecile pictured with briquette press. AoC 2010.Richard Stanley, Cecile, and other briquetters take a look at a single-user press.

Photo (c) Peter Stanley. Photo courtesy of Peter Stanley. Stoves made from all over the world – Kenya, China, Mexico, Rwanda, South Africa – are lined up for display and discussion.

Looking at briquette in Arusha, TZ.  AoC 2010Immaculee, Cecile, Ziria Ndifuna (Director, NIMBCO Consultants Ltd), Innocent, and Mzee Ali examine briquettes.

Photo (c) Peter Stanley.Photo courtesy of Peter Stanley. Cecile looks on at the thresher which mashes up organic and recycled material which is ultimately pressed into briquettes.

Innocent in Arusha, Part 2 of Briquette Conference

Upon arrival in Arusha, Cecile and I are ready to meet the other participants attending Legacy Foundation’s First Annual All Africa Biomass Briquette Producers’ Conference. We meet many people from the East African Community – Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and one fellow Rwandan named Paulin Buregeya from EcoMake based in the capital city of Kigali. Also attending are people from South Africa, Sudan, and Botswana.

Photo (c) Peter Stanley 2010.Photo courtesy of Peter Stanley. Richard (pictured above) and Joyce Stanley share the Legacy Foundation’s progress report.

Now it is time for Cecile and I, along with MGVP’s Immaculee and Ernest, to present and provide a demonstration using our stove and briquettes.
Photo (c) Peter Stanley.  Photo courtesy of Peter Stanley. Ernest, Innocent and colleague translating English to Kiswahili during presentation.

Photo (c) Peter Stanley. 2010.Photo courtesy of Peter Stanley. Cecile and Innocent presenting.

Photo (c) Peter Stanley. TZ 2010.Photo courtesy of Peter Stanley. MGVP’s briquette producer partner, Immaculee, presenting.

I appreciate the way that Joyce and Richard established this conference to be a safe learning environment and information sharing venue. The audience easily paid attention to all presenters and everyone offered excellent comments and suggestions. I can safely say for myself, Cecile, Immaculee, and Ernest, that we are so pleased with this opportunity of travel and learning.

Thank you, Peter Stanley, for allowing us to use your wonderful photographs.

Stay tuned…more coming up.

Innocent in Arusha, Part 1 of Briquette Conference

Hi everyone. This is Innocent, Art of Conservation’s teacher, translator, and alternative cooking fuel consultant.

Over the next few days, I will be reporting to you about my recent trip to Arusha, Tanzania for the Briquette Producers’ Conference hosted by the Legacy Foundation. Accompanying me is our organization’s briquette producer, Cecile, and Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project‘s briquette producers who work work closely with here in Rwanda. So please join me in this series of blogs relating to the protection of our environment and information sharing.

It is real fun to travel by air especially when you are a briquette producer.
Cecile and Immaculee on the plane to Arusha.  AoC 2010.Cecile, AoC’s briquette producer, and Immaculee, MGVP’s briquette producer, on board Rwanda Air Express on their way to Arusha.

As opposed to land, when you’re traveling by air you can see from the sky a variety of things which are part of the environment: beautiful mountains like Mount Meru, swamps, rivers, lakes, towns and guess what? Forests! So let’s make and use fuel briquettes to save these very important forests.

Looking at Tanzania from above.  Cecile and Innocent on their way to Arusha. AoC 2010.Tanzania as seen from above.

Dar es Salaam from above. AoC 2010.Dar es Salaam as seen from above.

We made it safely to our lodge, Sariko Olasiti Garden Lodge, and begin meeting new friends and colleagues. Much more to come.