Thanks to the production of ecological briquettes, Odile is able to provide for her and her daughter
25 teenage girls from Buterere site are benefiting from training that will enable them to become economically independent, Thanks to the UNICEF-funded "Green girls" project.
It’s around 9 a.m. and we’re in the Buterere district. We’re going to meet Miburo Odile, originally from the neighborhood, who is part of a solidarity group of 25 teenage girls benefiting from the “Green Girls” project.
The “Green Girls” project is an innovative solution offering training to teenage girls displaced by flooding due to climate change and exposed to the risks of violence, abuse, and exploitation of all kinds. The training focuses on the production and marketing of ecological briquettes and improved cooking ovens, with the aim of helping them become economically independent and offering them a more protective working environment. Odile tells us how she came to join this solidarity group.
“I come from a very poor family, and before I came here, I was begging on the street. The police chased me all the time, so I had to leave the street and go to the dumps. That’s where we looked for food, and my parents are still there. It was a hard life because I was often threatened, I was even raped, and that’s why I have a child,” confides Odile. She adds that unfortunately her parents and brothers are still in the dumps because of their financial difficulties. “I left the dumps thanks to a member of the SAD (Social Action for Development) association who saw me looking for food when I was pregnant and brought me here.”
Financially supported by UNICEF, the “Green Girls” project, implemented by partner SAD, has benefited over 100 adolescent girls from four different sites - Buterere, Kinyinya, Sobel and Gatumba since November 2022. The project aims to address multiple cross-sectoral challenges, including abuse prevention, violence, climate change, gender issues and youth empowerment by helping adolescent girls become leaders and clean energy carriers in their communities.
Collecting organic waste from households and around the camp, carbonizing it and mixing it with clay or starch from sawdust and water are just some of the steps involved in producing eco-friendly briquettes.
Odile expresses her gratitude for this opportunity which has enabled her to live in an environment that protects her from violence and abuse, to have a job and to look after herself and her child daily. Thanks to the practical skills she has acquired, she is now able to run a small business selling the charcoal she produces and provide for her young daughter and her family who still live in difficult conditions. This opportunity has enabled her to generate other resources with which she has undertaken other income-generating activities. “Now I can buy food for myself and my child, clothes for her and myself without having to resort to men or begging,” she says proudly.
A bag of ecological briquettes costs 20,000 FBU which is considerably less than the price of a bag of traditional charcoal which costs over 50,000 FBU. In addition to that ecological briquettes are twice as effective and less harmful to children.