A big hello to those of you who know me – and I look forward to reading your comments! And to those of you who don’t my name is Virginia and I have just re-joined the team here in Virunga to continue working on the Briquette Project – one of the most important pilot projects in this area of North Kivu province.
After 10 months of installing several fuel briquette presses in Bukavu, I am now happily back with my old colleagues to work together on this promising project. I will be pushing side by side with Balemba, who is in charge of this project and the production, and Jean Bosco who runs the training. My job is sales and marketing, so I need to make everything possible to convince people that fuel briquettes are a better option than charcoal!
War and insecurity paralyzed many activities in the park for several weeks last year, including our fuel briquettes program. But we are now well under way and Jean Bosco has successfully trained 14 teams – which means we can achieve a daily production of 7.000 fuel briquettes.
Next week 10 new groups will be trained, which should bring our production up to 12.000 fuel briquettes a day.
Our aim is to get the press machines built locally in Rumangabo. We have started refurbishing one of the old buildings, where we will install our own carpentry workshop.
William from SoDeRu inspecting the site – this is a very old and dilapidated building we are refurbishing. We are not able to keep much of it – but we will use as much of it as we can to keep costs down.
I am extremely happy to be back here again – involved in the briquette making process and assisting with marketing and sales that will ultimately be the make or break of this project.
We must make an impact on Virunga and the deforestation within this magnificent park’s boundaries if we are to protect this World Heritage site for generations to come.