Upperlink Consult trains women on briquette production in Wa

By Aminu Ibrahim II Contributor
Regional News Upperlink Consult trains women on briquette production in Wa
APR 2, 2024 LISTEN

Upperlink Consult, an organization focused on skills development and sustainable waste management, has provided a week-long intensive training on briquette production for some women in Wa in the Upper West Region.

The training, held over the weekend, offered the women hands-on skills to turn agricultural waste into useful fuel for household consumption and to earn livelihoods while mitigating climate change.

It formed part of a six-month project being supported by the Ghana Skills Development Fund (GSDF) to raise the income earning potential of people, especially women and low-income groups.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of Upperlink Consult, Prof Hamidatu Darimani, the training served to develop the capacities of the women to utilize the abundant residue from agricultural practices in producing coal, as opposed to felling trees, for not just their household uses but also for industrial purposes.

She intimated that the knowledge of turning agricultural residue into coal would help in reducing the rate at which deforestation is caused in an attempt to produce fuel (firewood and charcoal) for cooking and other industrial uses.

"We all know the issue of climate change and the issue of deforestation which really is a very major issues that the government and even worldwide is trying to solve.

"So in our small corner, we said that why don't we train these women because these women, they use firewood in their various homes [and] they are the same women who go into the bush to cut down these trees," she explained.

Prof Darimani hinted that the women who were beneficiaries of the training, numbering up to 20, would be taken for stepdown training for other women in various communities within the Upper West Region.

"Moving forward, we want to train these women to be core team members of the Upper West Region and we would go into rural communities to train other women," she said.

She added that the training would also help in addressing issues of poverty and unemployment among women while contributing to climate change mitigation.

Amin Sulley, Chief Labourer for Zaacoal and facilitator of the training, said the market potential of briquette charcoal was huge and that there was greater avenue for employment within the sector.

From sourcing of agricultural residue to its carbonization through to the production and marketing of the briquette, he said several people could be employed under each value chain.

"Some of them can go into the carbonization, they sell to some who do the processing [and] some can decide to pick up and do the sales.

"You realized in this small scenario, we have about three different value chains: the carbonizers, the processors and then the sellers [and] each one is making a living from something that ideally would've been a waste product," explained.

Mr Sulley observed that, with the replication of the training in every rural community and the presence of a centralized processing plant in Upper West Region, poverty could drastically be reduced in the region.

The women, 20, drawn from Bamahu, Kpongu, Jonga, and Wa communities within the Wa Municipality, expressed happiness about the new skills they acquired through the training and were optimistic that it could turn their financial lives around.

"The benefits that will accrue from this training are going to be enormous. Imagine you are able to produce this briquette charcoal, whether you are selling it or using it at home, it is very beneficial and can reduce the hardship we are facing.

"Now, we also know that our farm residue are not just waste but useful resources," Madam Adams Hawawu from Wa Duori community said.

"If we take this training serious and know how to produce the briquette charcoal, it will reduce the rate of cutting down trees which is affecting our rainfall patterns lately," Madam Mary Salifu, another participant from Wa Kpaguri said.