CR HOPE Foundation is pleased to announce a new partnership with BioSmart Initiative – a sustainable solution to the energy needs of rural households, based at the University of Exeter (UK).
BioSmart creates furnaces that transform agricultural waste into biochar, which is a sustainable form of energy and a cleaner alternative to charcoal that reduces CO2 emissions and prevents deforestation. We believe our partnership will bring numerous benefits to the Zanzibari community, including new income source for women engaging into the activity, as well as educational returns on the importance of environmental protection.
In the words of Zain Shaikh, a second-year geography student at Exeter University and our primary collaborator: “On behalf of BioSmart, we are very excited to enter into a partnership with CR HOPE Foundation. We believe what CR HOPE is aiming to achieve will be transformational. Their goals strongly align with our values to generate empowerment, employment and economic growth through the use of biochar.”
BioSmart Initiative was started by engineering students at the University of Exeter in 2017. They wanted to use agricultural waste in a sustainable manner and recognized the possible practical application it could bear. From there, they designed a furnace that carbonized agricultural waste when burnt, creating biochar which was known to be a fuel and a soil improver. Afterwards, students found project partners linked to farming where they could utilize this technology to the greatest effect: the Friends of Kadzinuni, Kenya, where fuel poverty and irregular harvests were a major issue. The group introduced BioSmart to Patrick who ran a farming school and through him, the Initiative delivered the instructions on how to assemble the furnace and passed on the importance of biochar and briquettes as a potential primary solution to Kadzinuni’s problems.
The project has since gone from strength to strength. In 2019, BioSmart managed to raise funds to come to the village twice and conducted social research, delivered numerous business workshops and set up a biofuel business there called the Kadzinuni Biochar Group. Two teams of women sell briquettes every week on Wednesdays and Thursdays and are now earning a supplemental income thanks to the initiative. Kadzinuni represents BioSmart’s greatest success and they are now looking into the expansion opportunities. Such a chance came over the summer in Pakistan where they partnered with Bakhaber Kissan, who works with 3 million farmers across the country to help introduce biochar as a soil improver. BioSmart has already managed to construct their first furnace and has delivered their first workshop. Over the coming year, they plan to run soil tests there, hopefully leading to a large-scale use.