A trained accountant, Sanga Moses spent more than three years working in Uganda’s bustling capital city, Kampala. But his life changed in 2009 during a visit to his remote home village in Western Uganda. Moses was on his way out of the village and encountered his 12-year-old sister carrying a large bundle of wood on her head. When he asked her what she was doing, she began crying and explained that she was tired of missing school to gather wood for the family’s cooking needs.
“Then and there I decided to do something about the situation,” Moses recalled. “I knew I needed to take action for my sister’s sake – but also to reduce Uganda’s over-dependence on wood fuel for the sake of our forests.”
Almost immediately, Moses quit his job in Kampala, took his USD 500 life savings and threw himself whole-heartedly into identifying alternative sources of fuel. In his own words:
“Everyone thought I was crazy.”
And thus began a steep learning curve. Moses admits that as an accountant by training he knew very little about alternative fuel or the full scope of deforestation in Uganda. What he learned was this: more than 3.4 million hectares of Africa’s forests - tropical and beyond – were depleted from 2000 - 2010.
A truly dire statistic, Moses was only further motivated to identify possible alternatives to wood fuel. After a year of researching, he discovered that agricultural waste – abundant in rural Uganda – could be turned into clean burning fuel briquettes and fertilizers.
“I sold all my personal belongings to build a kiln and make the first briquetting machine in April 2010,” Moses said.
“From there, Eco-Fuel Africa was born – in November we brought our first product to market.”
A humble man, Moses makes the solution behind his company sound simple – when it’s anything but. Eco-Fuel Africa invented a low-cost kiln out of oil drums, which are leased to rural farmers to turn their agricultural waste into charcoal powder. The farmers then sell a portion of the power to Eco-Fuel Africa, and retain a portion for themselves as organic fertilizers to increase their yields, and hence, their incomes. (via NextBillion.net | Waste Not, Want Not: Eco-Fuel Africa)