Best Ideas 2022 features all the nominated entries submitted under ‘Submit your Idea’ category. All the entries consist of innovative solutions or propositions for an enterprise that champions the Sustainable Development Goals. They can be on the conceptual, planning, or start-up stage.
Explain your idea in details:
The main objectives of Phika briquettes are to provide sustainable means of cooking and heating, improve waste management and reduce environmental degradation. Malawi is one of the least electrified countries globally currently at 11% overall. In terms of energy supply, the Malawi Energy Policy indicates that approximately 85% of energy comes from biomass largely exploited in a non-sustainable manner. (https://www.se4all-africa.org/seforall-in-africa/country-data/malawi/#:~:text=Malawi%20is%20one%20of%20the,rural%20population%20connected%20to%20electricity). With this less connectivity to electricity and massive black outs that last more than 6 hours each day, most people largely depend on charcoal and firewood as fuel for cooking and heating. This has led to mass environmental degradation through careless cutting down of trees which has affected the soil fertility through erosion leading low crop yields, and the Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Emissions from the woods and charcoal have led to climate change leading to droughts and floods. Due to these negative effects, the Malawi Government has put strict measures to those found cutting down trees for charcoal or firewood despite few people being connected to the national electricity grid since about 51.7% of the population lives below the poverty line of USD1.25 per day. With the challenges mentioned above, I would like to introduce the use of paper briquettes for cooking. These briquettes are made from waste papers and saw dust bound together and compressed into small pieces (approximately 5 cm). The briquettes production is divided into four main steps firstly, material collection, secondly material processing, thirdly pressing and lastly drying. Unlike the use of electricity for cooking which is expensive and also has high risk levels of electrocution, the paper briquettes are unique in a way that the products are clean and safe to use. They are also cheaper and easier to make since we use locally available resources.
Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development
Despite being a money-making venture, the briquettes will help to re-purpose waste, in a way that, the briquettes fit nicely into circular Bio-economy approaches that aim to improve urban waste management hence keeping the cities clean. Furthermore, briquettes will offer multiple ecological benefits to the environment as it will help to preserve the forests and also to regenerate vegetation and improved carbonization process. Therefore with this project, will also complement the governments efforts in environmental conservation by helping the Malawian population to shift from using firewood and charcoal to briquettes. In addition, the use of briquettes is sustainable in a way that they burn for a long time than charcoal, and are cheaper to make hence affordable by the Malawian population which is mostly poor. Not only that, but also briquettes burn with higher power hence food made using briquettes is ready faster than prepared using charcoal and firewood. Lastly, the briquettes will also assist vulnerable women like single mothers and widows to earn a decent living since they will be recruited in briquettes making as a way of empowering them economically for them to be self-reliant and be able to sustain their livelihood.
Plans for implementation and sustainability
The Implementation of the Phika Briquettes will involve lobbying the Malawi Government through the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining to partner with us in promoting the use of this innovative product in household cooking as an alternative to the use of charcoal and firewood which the ministry is restricting. We believe that this will get the public buy in. We will also run radio, television and social media promotions to bring public awareness and lobby for funding and collaboration from the general public. In addition, we will recruit vulnerable women like single mothers and widows to help in sourcing raw materials and production of the briquettes. We will also lobby in persons of influence in our country like female ministers and celebrities to help promote the use of briquettes. Through finances from personal savings, funds from well-wishers and sales we hope to expand our operations by buying more equipment to help in quick making of the briquettes, rent buildings across the country for production and warehousing of the briquettes. And we hope to have main centers in all the three regions of the country namely, North, Central, and Southern. These will also act as incubator labs for training other people especially women and girls interested in the venture, thereby imparting vocational skills which they can use to replicate the idea.
Gloria Phiri is a 34 year old Malawian lady with passion to improve the economic situation of youths and women in Malawi and Africa. She is a philanthropist and a founder of Pride Initiative, a Non-Governmental Organisation that focuses on youth and women empowerment. She has successfully led projects like the Girls Pride Project through which she champions training of young women in re-usable sanitary pad making. These pads are donated in governmental primary and secondary schools to help keep girls in school as most of them abscond classes during menstruation periods which makes them perform poorly in class and eventually drop out of school. She is also championing the Youth Arise Project which focusses on skills development for vulnerable youths by training them in vocational skills like carpentry, tailoring, cell phone repairing, ICT, Banking, Sausage Making, and Hair Dressing in order for them to start small scale businesses to sustain their livelihood with support from the Global Youth Mobilization fund. Gloria is a holder of a Bachelors degree in Business Administration from The University of Malawi, The Polytechnic College and she is currently studying towards a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the Eastern and Southern African Management Institute (ESAMI). Growing up in rural Malawi, in Kasungu district with a single grandparent, Gloria encountered many hardships like lack of school fees, but through hardwork she passed her primary school leaving certificate with flying colors and well-wishers pledged to support her through secondary school. After which she got selected to University of Malawi under the governments grant. With this background, Glorias passion has been to support fellow vulnerable girls and women through various initiatives in order to improve their economic status.