Over ten years ago when the poorest residents of Nairobi started making briquettes out of charcoal dust, they were trying to solve an immediate household problem of unaffordable fuel. Today, their work is helping overcome some of Kenya’s capital city’s most intractable headaches—poverty, unemployment, and poor waste management—and contributing to the country’s sustainable development aspirations, too.
Charcoal briquettes are made by mixing charcoal dust with water and a binding agent such as soil, paper or starch. The resultant ‘dough’ is shaped by hand, or moulded in wooden or metal presses into fist-sized units, which are then air-dried. Women and youth make up the majority of those employed in this informal industry. Read more. . .