Hara Women’s Cooperative in Karonga District has unveiled plans to open a briquette-making factory in March next year to promote the use of alternative sources of energy.
With support from Christian Aid, the women are now putting up a building for the briquette plant.
The cooperative’s chairperson Witness Ngwira said the group has since undergone training in business management and entrepreneurial skills.
“We visited Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to appreciate how they produce briquettes from rice husks as we will be making briquettes from the same,” she said.
Ngwira said the women have so far contributed K3 million towards the project while Christian Aid will pump in K51 million.
“The briquettes will replace fuel wood which is now scarce in Karonga due to deforestation.
“Again, this will protect forests, thereby saving the environment,” she said.
Ngwira said they expect to have a big market considering that most people in the district use unsustainable energy sources such as firewood and charcoal.
In an interview, Christian Aid Breaking the Barriers Project coordinator LusunguChinombo said they came up with the project to empower women with knowledge on energy poverty and how they can overcome the challenges.
“The project is linking energy poverty to economic empowerment,” she said.
Chimombo said through the project, women will have access to money and will use sustainable energy technologies.
Christian Aid is implementing a Breaking the Barriers: Promoting Women Entreprenuership in Sustainable Energy Value Chains Project with funding from the European Union.