The countdown has officially started!… In a week I’ll be heading to Chad.
I can’t wait to meet Aquilas, Ghislain and all the people I met there the last time.
These last days were spent trying to organize the trip… and quite honestly, I feel blessed with all the support and motivation that the project is getting.
About a month ago, I had the opportunity to meet with two Portuguese NGO’s, one of them in Porto, Engenho & Obra and another in Lisbon, TESE. They were both quite enthusiastic about the project, and even gave some valuable advices for the trip and aspects I should take into consideration and be attentive to once in Chad.
As these NGO’s have a larger experience in development projects they could quickly identify gaps and point out elements that are crucial to establish a proper foundation for the ecoCharcoal project.
One of the aspects that was somewhat neglected last time was the associated improved cook stoves project. This time I am focusing seriously on this aspect, as well as on the evaluation and optimization of the production line. These aspects are crucial to build a sustainable project. We need to properly understand how the production is functioning and address practical issues regarding utilization, distribution of the product and proper financial remuneration for its production. Domane is in the core of the trip, for they might have now something to say after a few weeks of production. Above all, we don’t want to implement a project that is not sustainable or adequate for the local populations, for the people are the foundation of the project, and only them will be the catalysts to address the deforestation and energy problem.
Engenho & Obra is an NGO linked to the Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto (Superior Institute of Engineering of Porto). They made themselves available to further investigate on the optimization of the process such as the design of briquette molds and kilns, the study of improved cook stoves and the implementation of a functional production line that would both serve the villages and the cities. Not exactly an industrial production line… this would go against the whole project that is to empower local people spread the knowledge organically… but to consider establishing certain production points that would integrate a more efficient equipment and increase the scale.
Today, on another meeting with a unit research based on the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto campus, INEGI, we discussed the need that most development projects have on the optimization of their approach to the problems and the important roles these investigation units can play. The ecoCharcoal project has in INEGI a potential valuable partner, and INEGI saw a lot of potential on the ecoCharcoal project!
Summing up, there will be a lot to do during the coming weeks in order for us to establish an ecological, social and economically sustainable and fair-to-all project. And I am looking forward to go and deepen my knowledge and understanding of the context!
Before leaving I want to give a big THANKS to my sister, Eva, that helped with some informatics issues related to the ecoCharcoal digital equipment that is soon travelling to Chad 😉 She has also a “Humanitarian” soul!