It’s been almost a year since DOT Uganda Intern, Ali Kaviri, shared the story of Wamala, a 19-year old ReachUp! graduate who started a community-based organization to provide eco-friendly fuel for his community. We recently visited Wamala in Mukono, and we are happy to report that he’s made some great progress!
Last September, DOT Uganda Intern Ali Kaviri wrote a blog called New entrepreneurship skills help participant introduce eco-friendly fuel alternative to his community. In it, he shared the story of Wamala, a remarkable ReachUp! program graduate who, at only 19-years old, started his own community-based organization to provide the Mukono district with an environmentally friendly fuel source.
Wamala had identified a major concern: like many urban areas in Uganda, his community relied upon wood or charcoal to fuel daily cooking fires. But burning charcoal produces harmful gasses and smoke, and he began to notice the detrimental effects of deforrestation on the wetlands around his home.
So with the entrepreneurship and business skills he acquired from ReachUp! training, Wamala jumped on the opportunity to create a socially-responsible business that would help his community to become more environmentally sustainable.
He launched Mulungi Charcoal Briquettes, which manufactures affordable, long-burning fuel briquettes made of biomass like farming waste, charcoal dust, and waste paper. Not long after, he registered his business as an official community-based organization, which gave him access to funding that allowed him to employ 20 of his peers.
It’s been almost a year since Ali shared Wamala’s story, and we recently visited Mulungi Charcoal Briquettes to find out how Wamala is doing. We couldn’t be more impressed with what we found! Currently, Wamala’s business is still operating on a small scale, but he and his associates are saving to acquire machines that will make the process of producing the briquettes easier, safer, and more efficient.
Of course, Mulungi Charcoal Briquettes has run into some challenges, but Wamala and his team have adjusted and adapted. “Our production is currently at a seasonal low,” he told us, “Since it rains every day at this time of year, it has become difficult to find materials and to locate a space to properly dry the briquettes.” To get through this slow period, the team has begun to produce an assortment of fuel-efficient stoves made from recycled metal. The sales from the stoves are helping his business grow steadily toward the next level.
Wamala is a true social entrepreneur. He has made a measurable impact in his community, and he continuously strives to grow and create new innovations. The youth of Mukono are lucky to have him as a role model. We wish him the best of luck! Story by Digital opportunity Trust (DOT) International