CREEC SUPPORTING WOMEN ENTREPRENUERS
Gorreti Nakiwala Odama is a stay at home mother of two and lives in Mutungo suburban town on the outskirts of Kampala. With a little knowledge on briquette making she has in the last few months mobilized a group of women from her neighborhood to make briquettes from charcoal dust. As a stay at home mother there isn’t much to do besides the house chores which inspired her to use her hands to make the briquette molds. Gorreti’s decision to utilize her free time to make clean cooking fuels has made her become a positive part of the energy market in Uganda and an inspiration in her community. She started off by collecting banana peelings and charcoal dust from local charcoal sellers and after CREEC heard of the activities Gorreti was running in her community, the centre has since supported her and the women with technical training on briquette making.
On 12th July 2018, CREEC visited Gorreti for the first time to evaluate her briquetting process and make an assessment on what kind of training she needed to elevate her briquetting business. It was realized that the women were not making any measurements when mixing the charcoal dust and the cassava flour which acted as there binder was being mixed poorly. The women were also making the briquette molds using their fingers which was not efficient and hence made briquettes with low energy content due to airspaces left from poor compression. From this CREEC was able to design a few tools for the women to use with the help of the technical team at the CREEC Regional Testing and Knowledge Centre. Briquette molds were designed in form of a piston press as well as sieves to help in sieving the charcoal dust. With these tools and a weighing scale, the women were taught how to measure the charcoal dust and the proportions to use when mixing the dust with the binder. The briquetting molds also made work easier and faster and made a very neat and well compressed briquette. To date, Gorreti continues to update the centre on the status of her business and has even started to sell her products on a small scale to other women in the community. The briquettes made by the women with the simple tools made by CREEC during the the second training
CREEC believes that women can play a crucial role in scaling up energy access globally and therefore initiatives like these encourage women to become skilled energy entrepreneurs while offering multiple development benefits, such as expansion of economic activities for women, diversification of productive options, creation of new sources of wealth and income to support family investments in education and health. CREEC also intends to take the women through a business modeling training as they hope to start manufacturing briquettes to sell to even more customers.