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Some of of the wonderful members of Womens Inititive the Gambia, with whom we arw working – Mariama, Kaddy, Mariam and Awa


Charcoal briquettes are selling like hot cakes.

Made from organic waste by the first wave of WasteAid UK graduates, the briquettes are cheaper and cleaner burning than natural charcoal.

But the best bit is these small black lumps of carbon tackle a whole load of other problems:

  1. By removing organic waste from the streets, villages become healthier places to live.
  1. A stable and sustainable business enterprise has been created where there was none.
  1. The briquettes replace the need for virgin timber, lessening the deforestation which for 30 years has been a major driver of the conflict with neighbouring Senegal.

The briquettes made from organic waste literally sell out in hours. They are popular and the word is spreading.

Picture courtesy of Mike Webster, WasteAid UK. Charcoal briquettes for sale – made from organic leaf matter.

Now WasteAid UK is training community leaders from five other villages, showing them how to turn waste into a resource. These trainees are setting up ‘mini waste hubs’ in their own villages – places that have never had an organised system for dealing with waste.

The local markets are the ideal place to spread the word. People who buy the briquettes are intrigued, and want to know more.

This is just the beginning for a new recycling sector in the Gambia. The community of resource managers will, together, reduce pollution and disease, provide training and employment, and reduce causes of conflict.

Supporting WasteAid is an ideal way for waste management companies in wealthier countries to deliver meaningful corporate social responsibility. Even small contributions can have far-reaching impacts.

How does the saying go?

“Give a woman a briquette, and she can cook a meal. Teach a woman how to make a briquette from waste, and she cook for the rest of her life.”

Photo: Mike Webster, WasteAid UK. Preparing briquettes for market

You can follow WasteAid UK’s work on Twitter: @WasteAidUK