Nyamagabe – a small village in rural Rwanda – brings the story of a confident 25-year-old that is solving some of the problems of his immediate community one briquette at a time.
Jean Bosco Nzeyimana grew up in a poor, rural community that could boast of very little by way of infrastructure or even the basic necessities. Housing was shabby, clean water was hard to find, and electricity was a luxury most of the locals would rather not think about – mostly because it was more non-existent than it was inconsistent.
Due to the absence of electricity and because the community knew no other energy source, wood was the go-to guy for all things fuel.
Jean Bosco was concerned by the devastating deforestation (trees were often cut down for firewood and charcoal), but that was not the only thing that caught his attention. He was also disturbed by the many rubbish-laden landfills that dotted parts of Rwanda, and his village was seeing more than its fair share.
Jean Bosco found a way to solve both problems and the solution involved turning organic waste into clean-burning and efficient briquettes, as well as fertilisers for farmers.
With some support, he was able to set up a business called “Habona” in 2013; which literally translates to “Illumination.” The company collects and sorts garbage to make briquettes, biogas, and organic fertilizers for a customer base that encompasses restaurants, hotels, schools, businesses, farmers, and government offices.
More so, Habona’s biofuels are believed to be currently used by as many as 1,500 households in Rwanda while employing up to 26 people on a permanent basis, and nearly 50 more as casual workers. Thus, empowering people and improving quality of life in parts of rural Rwanda.