In December 2012/January 2013, GreenTech Company Ltd, in cooperation with the School Agriculture Unit under the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE), undertook a briquette testing and demonstration series in 20 schools of the Greater Banjul Area, based on the findings of a sample testing in Old Jeshwang Lower Basic School. The activity was enabled through the small grant, which was attached through the winning of the SEED Award in 2011.
All 20 schools had kitchens approved by the World Food Programm (WFP). GreenTech’s Testing and Demonstration Team pre-visited all schools to provide taylor made solutions to the kitchens, to enable them to use briquettes in their institutional stoves.
The kitchens differed in dimension and design, depending o
n the size of the school and the contractor hired for the stove construction. Usually a metal plate, made by a local welder, would already improve the ventilation as an insert for the in-built stove, as tested already in Old Jeshwang. Thus, GreenTech would come along for the demonstration with a plate according to the size of the stove and test the performance of the groundnutshell briquettes in the individual stoves. Also the energy efficient household stoves were presented, as they are an additional solution for the schools and individuals.
The testing and demonstration was throughout positive and demonstrated briquettes as a true alternative fuel for school cooking, as it was easy to handle, more environmentally friendly and less costly than the traditional cooking with firewood.
At the same time GreenTech would open the dialogue with the community on access to the briquettes and fuel efficient stoves through decentralised salespoints and trained welders in the community.
The presentations were visited by staff of the school, members of mother’s clubs and school food management committee, welders, fuelwood sellers, school food vendors and other institutions related to the schools.
Students were integrated in the awareness raising campaign through a poster competition on “Causes of Climate Change”.
The results were impressive and touching and the children proved to be very much aware of the consequences of unsustainable habits, which contribute to climate change, such as cooking with fuel wood. The posters served as an impressive powerful tool for environmental education on site.
Winners were awarded in each school and enter the round for final to p three winners. In each school, the winner would receive a tree to plant on the school ground and be in charge of the watering and caring.
The response of the schools were highly encouraging for GreenTech Company Ltd. They demonstrated their appreciation of the events through drama plays, story telling or provision of food to be cooked with the briquettes.
The results of the testing and demonstration series will be compiled and presented in a validation workshop for further guidance on the use of briquettes in school kitchens.