From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Cord-Sierra Leone And Njala University Launch Bebi Project : A means of producing fertilizer and cooking gas, an alternative to the use of charcoal.
Aug 13, 2010, 17:10

In a bid to enhance climate change and maintain good environment, three international experts from the University of Udine, Italy, have joined the Njala University and CORD-SL to launch the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Science and Technology programme, Bebi, a project that is geared towards agricultural and environmental benefits from biochar use in many countries both in Africa and other continents.

Theweek-long launching and testing ceremonies from 5th to 13th August, 2010, objectively focused on the training of trainers on the use of LuciaStove, with funding from the European Union.

Dept. Minister II of Agriculture expresses concern over

On Friday 6th August, 2010, a conference was held at CORD-SL Office at Fort Street in Freetown, where representatives from OXFAM, SLANGO, Njala University, CORD-SL and other Non-Governmental Organisations, including the media were present. Speakers from both OXFAM and SLANGO expressed satisfaction and commitment to the initiative as they noted the global effect on climate change.

In his statement, the Coordinator of the project, Prof. Andrew Mboma of Njala University described the project as an inter collegiate pilot project focused on research mainly conducted by Universities, NGOs and international expert teams. Prof. Mboma informed that the project started around 2007 in Sierra Leone, and that both Njala and CORD-SL have been able to attend series of international conferences geared towards orientation on the implementation of the project. He noted that the project was on going and very soon other organisations, including the private sector would join them. He maintained that the project was to encourage the training of trainers on the use of a cooking stove that uses pellet without smoke. He said, pellets can be used as feedstock and after use, the biochar can also be used for crop fertilization. He informed that some institutions including Njala University and Government Technical Institute, Kissy, have been identified for the implementation of the project.

Inventor explaining how to use the stove

The Executive Director of CORD-SL, Mr. Alfred Sandi said that his organisation was noted for performing humanitarian roles, and has always partnered with the government, local and international non-governmental organisations including UNICEF, UNDP, GOAL, OXFAM amongst others. He informed that during the war years, in terms of improving the livelihood of people, especially in distributing food, tools for local farmers and facilitating health programme and education, CORD-SL was very instrumental in these areas.

Further, Mr. Sandi explained the role of CORD-SL in the implementation of the Bebi Project. According to him, his organisation provides advocacy to the research through sensitization in local communities about the project. He said, they identify the specific communities and people who are ready to participate in the project. He emphasised that they would like Sierra Leone to sustain the project and demand the need for other private sector entities to come on board for its long existence.

Inventor explaining the importance of the stove to Lecturers and other participants

The expert team leader Girogio Alberti, who also doubles as a researcher from University of Udine, Italy, said the LuciaStove by World Stove was very important especially for the use of biochar by agriculturists and also for the environment at large. He disclosed that the idea of the project on the use of bioschar and environmental protection came from two people, Alessandro Peressoti of University of Udine and Franco Miglietta of National Research Council, Italy. He said, many countries in Africa and the Caribbean have become partners to implement the project. He disclosed that they were funded by EU to implement the project in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Togo as Consultants. He maintained that it was a project for development and technology aimed at specifically improving the health of people that cook traditionally in developing countries, and also help in environmental protection from global warning.

The inventor and Director of WorldStove, Nathaniel Mulcahy explained the importance of the stove and how it can be used. He informed that the stove produces very low carbon dioxide and its emission are comparable to a gas stove. He disclosed that the stove improved soil fertility and it was not too expensive as compared to other stoves, and that it also had a longer span. He maintained that the stove could be made locally and it was possible for each country to make its own Luciastove; adding that the feedstock that is utilised by the stove is much more cheaper than fire wood or charcoal. He informed that the Luciastove when put on, within few minutes, would stop producing emission and automatically produced gas to generate energy for cooking or power. He also disclosed that the stove can produce electricity of about 60 Watts and can produce heat through a certain technology.

Irene conducting a test on smoke infection in traditional cooking

Furthermore, Nathaniel disclosed that, the stove can provide jobs for many people. He said the making of the Luciastove by locals and the pellet are all means of jobs creation. He concluded by saying that they were in Sierra Leone to learn, in order to be able to make their own Lucia stove.

In her statement, Irene Criscuoli, a member of the consulting team, who doubles as a researcher, said, the Luciastove was another way of improving the lives of millions of people in the world. According to her, about 2.5 billion people use firewood for cooking. She said the emission produce by the traditional cooking is a pollution that affect women and children, especially in developing countries. Irene informed that whenever people inhale the carbon mono-oxide frequently, they get sick. She disclosed that, the toxic gas/emission of carbon monoxide kills more than 1.3 million people yearly. She continued by saying that, the death cause by smoke from traditional cooking supersedes that of malaria and HIV/AIDS combined.

One of the local feedstocks

Further, she disclosed that her own role was to conduct a test on how smoking is affecting women and children in Sierra Leone. Together with CORD-SL, and Njala University, the experts team met students and lecturers at the Government Technical institute to train trainers on the making of Luciastove. The team also conducted a training seminar on the use of the stove at Brama, Crossing and Kuama villages, around the Newton Community, in the Western Rural Districts. They also held a seminar at Njala University at Mokonde in the Moyamba District.

During their stay in the country, the team identified local bye-products of agricultural plants such as: palm nuts, elephant grass and rice husk as feedstock for the stove.

Participants at the launching of Bebi project

Together with CORD-SL and Njala University, the team on Thursday 12th. August, 2010, paid courtesy calls to the Ministries of: Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security; Lands, Country Planning and the Environment and Energy and Water Resources.

Team leader explaining to participants at a seminar at the Njala University

Testing the temperature of the stove while using local material

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