Energy Poverty in UgandaSanga Moses is a social entrepreneur who founded Eco-Fuel Africa (EFA). This Ugandan-based company produces clean, sustainable cooking fuel from agricultural waste to tackle energy poverty in Uganda. Moses’ mission is to empower African communities while promoting sustainable development and reducing the negative impacts of deforestation and indoor air pollution.

Energy Sources in Uganda

In Uganda, most households use charcoal or firewood for cooking. Unfortunately, this practice is not only inefficient but also causes air pollution, which is bad for the environment and the health of people. According to the World Health Organization, indoor air pollution from solid fuels is responsible for about 3.2 million deaths globally each year, many of whom are children. Moreover, deforestation is a significant environmental issue in Uganda, as forests cover only about 12% of the country’s land area.

Moses recognized that agricultural waste, such as maize cobs and sugarcane bagasse, could be transformed into clean and efficient cooking fuel. He started Eco-Fuel Africa in 2010 with the goal of promoting a circular economy that would create value from waste while reducing environmental degradation and improving livelihoods.

Utilizing Agricultural Waste

Eco-Fuel Africa’s process involves collecting agricultural waste from farms and markets, transporting it to the company’s processing facility and transforming it into briquettes through a carbonization process. The briquettes are then sold to households, institutions and businesses as an alternative to charcoal and firewood. The fuel burns longer and hotter than traditional fuels. It produces less smoke, reducing indoor air pollution and respiratory diseases and creating a sustainable solution for energy poverty in Uganda.

EFA has helped disadvantaged women in Africa become micro-retailers of eco-friendly charcoal. Its approach involves visiting villages, identifying these marginalized women and providing them with training. EFA also constructs basic kiosks for each of them to use as retail shops for selling green charcoal within their local communities. To date, EFA has established hundreds of female retailers in Uganda, each earning a minimum of $152 monthly from selling eco-friendly charcoal.

Looking Ahead

Eco-Fuel Africa’s impact has been significant. The company has displaced thousands 0f tons of charcoal and firewood, reduced deforestation and improved the health and livelihoods of thousands of households. Moses’ innovative approach to waste management and sustainable energy has inspired other entrepreneurs and organizations to adopt similar models in Uganda and beyond.

Sanga Moses and Eco-Fuel Africa’s work exemplifies how social entrepreneurship can address pressing environmental and social challenges while promoting sustainable development and economic empowerment.

– Nino Basaria
Photo: Flickr