The ecoCharcoal projet has now a new ally. Engenho & Obra (E&O) is an NGO based in the Instituto de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto (Engineering Institute of the University of Porto), whose mission is “to improve the life conditions of the fragile countries’ populations through engineering projects, creating the circumstances which can increase its autonomy”. I have already mentioned E&O in a former post, because I’ve been in touch with it for over three months, and since then I’ve been getting from them support and collaboration to guide the project. E&O’s president Alfredo Ferreira, E&O’s project director Armando Ferreira and E&O’s project technical Elisete Santos are assisting the project and they clearly understand its importance in the context of Chad. They helped me prepare and organize some aspects of the trip in September, and after the trip we had a very productive and interesting meeting to talk about the activities on the ground and future prospects. I can definitely feel the enthusiasm and will to positively contribute to the project.
It is clear that we should invest as much as possible in the improved cook-stoves, for they show a real potential to decrease charcoal consumption in 50%, which means significantly reduce deforestation levels. But with the ecoCharcoal project we aim not just to decrease but to cease deforestation prompted by the wood charcoal production and give the tools to the wood charcoal producers to switch to ecoCharcoal production, as well as to equip families and village communities to be energy self-sufficient.
Meanwhile, we would also like to approach the ecoCharcoal production and design a strategic plan to implement small scale businesses.
On the ground the activities seem to be getting its own path. Aquilas and Ghislain are attending to local fairs and speaking on local radio stations to introduce the ecoCharcoal but mainly the improved cook-stoves. According to Ghislain, in the 4th edition of the SEM TA DOUA Festival in Moundou, there were sold 5 improved cook-stoves and 1,5 bags of ecoCharcoal (approximately 75kg). But mainly people were curious to learn about and to know where they can find the products. During this festival Envodev stand was visited by the vice mayor who was surprised to find out about this association in Moundou and its products.
All these news are very encouraging and we can actually confirm the real need and interest that the ecoCharcoal project is raising.