ARTI Trains 62 Village Agents for wPower Project

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ARTI made its second site visit for the wPower project on March 21 and 22. We visited the Vingunguti area in Ilala district of Dar es-Salaam where we met 63 Village Agents (VAs). These VAs were representing approximately 630 groups comprising 25-30 members or 18,900 potential customers from CARE International’s Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA).

ARTI technician, Brenda Allan introduces Barefoot Power products to the Village Agents

On the first day we introduced the ARTI Energy team and explained the fundamentals of the wPower project to the VAs. We then introduced the products, solar lights and clean energy cookstoves that the VAs will be distributing as clean energy entrepreneurs. We provided the VAs with technical training focused on the features and installation of the products along with trouble-shooting and maintenance. Focus was also placed on the business aspects of the projects such as record keeping and the distribution and sales structure of the project along with explanations of the process of ARTI’s after-sales services. We also demonstrated some of supporting promotional materials the wPower team will provide.  This includes banners, fliers and technical tools needed to begin the VAs clean energy entreprises.

ARTI’s Glory Tarimo and CARE’s Francis Songela describe how the structure of the wPower project works

Our training visit also served as an opportunity to meet with the Jumuiya group that serves as an umbrella organisation to monitor, co-ordinate and represent the VAs in the Ilala region. They will be working closely with ARTI throughout the wPower project to help ensure the success of the project for the VAs in Ilala.

VAs watch the lighting of Envirofit’s M5000 wood cookstove

All the VAs responded very positively to the training days and ARTI is excited to begin the next stage of the project, distributing of the products to the VAs that will enable them to become clean energy entrepreneurs.

Brenda shows a VA how to install Barefoot Power’s PowaPack 5W solar system.

Some of the VAs potential customers look at the M5000 wood cookstove.

ARTI Trains 200 Villagers to Produce Char Powder

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Five trainings focused on char powder production have been held since February 2013 involving a total of 200 participants from Bagamoyo and Kibaha district in the Pwani Region, Tanzania.

These trainings are part of our project, Scaling-Up of Charcoal Briquette Production in Tanzania  which aims at supporting various stakeholders to produce and supply 2000 tons of non-wood charcoal briquettes per year in Dar es Salaam.

Yasin Thabiti with non-wood charcoal briquettes made from dry biomass

Part of the objectives of these trainings is to support Tanzanians in rural areas to increase their income by developing a simple activity that uses readily available resources: the production of char powder by using dry biomass (grasses, leaves, sawdust, coconut husks and other type of agricultural waste). The trained villagers then sell the char powder to one of the two briquette production units also supported by ARTI TZ.

One of the trainees with char powder obtained from the burning of dry biomass

In this project, we work on all steps of the non-wood briquette charcoal value chain: char production and supply at village level, charcoal briquette manufacturing at two production units at district level, marketing and sales within the Dar-Es-Salaam charcoal market.

The trainings are a key component of the first step of the value chain. Villagers and especially farmers are often lacking income opportunities, and yet, they have access to a valuable resource; dry biomass such as grasses, leaves, agriculture waste, coconut shells, rice and maize husks which are, in most cases, considered as waste. This dry biomass is perfect for making non-wood charcoal briquettes. Therefore we train the villagers on how to make char powder by burning this dry biomass with a special kiln.

Different types of dry biomass such as coconut husks and grasses used in the production of char powder

The trainings last 2 days and are facilitated by our Field Officer, Yasin Thabiti who is a former char producer and our program manager, Manon Lelievre. The trainings are mostly ‘hands-on’: the participants are divided into small working groups which are each given a set of equipment including a kiln. This method enables the participants to become at ease with the use of the kilns and very comfortable with the whole process of char powder production. They are taught what kind of waste to use, which are the best, the quality required as well as the different safety practices to apply and how to use the safety gears properly. Certificates of completion are handed over the last day.

Women learning how to use the kiln

After each training, ARTI Tanzania signs contracts with the interested groups for them to become char suppliers of one of the two briquette production units. ARTI provides equipments, training and transport of the produced char powder while the char producers (organized as groups most of the time) must supply at least 200 kg of char per week. Each kilo of char powder worst 150Tsh.

Training participants with their certificates following the char powder training.

In the coming months, we will be carrying out about 13 trainings in order to achieve our objective to train over 700 Tanzanians in char production.

Read more about the ‘Scaling-Up of Charcoal Briquette Production in Tanzania‘ project and our two briquette production units in upcoming news.

ARTI visits Tanga Region for wPower Project

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ARTI Energy conducted its first site visits in the lead up to the wPower project in partnership with Access Africa and CARE Tanzania between Feburary 27 and March 2.  The wPower team was led by Francis Songela of Access Africa/CARE Tanzania and included ARTI Energy’s Dennis Tessier, Programs Director, Glory Tarimo, Project Officer and Brenda Allan, Solar Technician. The group visited the Tanga region where it moved between a total of 5 districts communicating with 22 Village Agents (VAs), representing 420 groups and 6,870 individual Village Savings and Loans association (VSLAs) members.

ARTI’s Glory Tarimo & Brenda Allan teach Village Agents the skills required to become a clean energy entrepreneur.

ARTI Energy and Access Africa conducted informational sessions in Tanga Urban, Tanga Rural, Muheza, Handeni and Korogwe. The sessions were aimed at preparing the VAs for subsequent intense training visits aimed at readying them for becoming clean energy entrepreneurs. VAs were given a basic outline into the training required to become successful entrepreneurs including broad business and sale strategies along with specific product knowledge and technical training.

Glory Tamiro displays the clean energy products to interested VAs

ARTI Energy was very impressed with all the VAs that we met. They all showed the enthusiasm and commitment needed to achieve success through the wPower project and are eagerly awaiting our next visit when they can begin their training proper.  ARTI Energy was also pleased to see two of the VAs, Fatuma Mohamed and Fatuma Nyangasa, make the first sales of the wPower project. Both women sold Barefoot Power’s Firefly solar light and received their commissions for their sales. Not only did this set a great example for their fellow VAs but also gave encouragement to ARTI Energy and Access Africa about the future of the wPower project.

ARTI staff explain solar products to members of the Tanga community.

Our first training will take place in the coming weeks in the Tanga and Muheza districts.

To learn more about ARTI’s partnership with CARE Tanzania in the wPower project visit:


VAs investigate the features of the energy efficient cook stoves with ARTI staff.


ARTI hosts BEIA Close-Out Workshop

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ARTI hosted the close-out workshop for the World Bank’s Biomass Energy Initiative for Africa (BEIA) from the 18th to the 20th of September at the Hilton Double Tree Hotel in Dar es Salaam.  The meeting served as an opportunity to show case the work of BEIA projects across 9 Sub-Saharan African Countries, including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Rwanda, Gambia, Ethiopia, as well as map the way forward.

The close out workshop was attended by a wide range of stakeholders from the donor community, international NGOs, local stakeholders as well as officials from the Government of Tanzania, all valuable supporters in the process.

Honourable. Dr. Terezya Huvisa, who is Minister of State, Vice Presidents Office, for Environment and President of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN), attended the workshop and gave a compelling closing speech for greater action and involvement in the biomass energy sector. The honourable Minister also committed her support for the scaling up of charcoal briquettes in Tanzania being carried at by ARTI.  She demonstrated her commitment following the workshop by visiting the ARTI office and the Bagamoyo Brikwiti Company, a community based enterprise (CBE) established with BEIA funding.

On the final day of the workshop over 20 delegates visited the Bagamoyo Brikwiti Company where they saw the production in full swing from the village level where char powder is made to the process of briquetting in the factory.  Delegates completed the day by visiting the Bagamoyo Beach Resort, who purchases briquettes on  a regular basis, and who cooked a wonderful meal for the group.

ARTI hosts VETA solar interns

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ARTI is hosting four students from the Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA) of Tanzania for a 2 month internship on solar installation and repair.  The students include Abdallah Saidi, Abdalla J. Saidi, Brenda Allan and Chacha G. Korosso, who represent the first batch of students to come to ARTI from VETA.

VETA interns: Abdallah Saidi, Abdalla J. Saidi, Brenda Allan and Chacha G. Korosso

 The students are part of a 7 month intensive solar electrical system program that incorporates 2 months of practical training at leading solar companies in Tanzania.

 With solar growing so rapidly in Tanzania there exists a gap between demand of quality products and technicians and what the market can supply.  ARTI is proud to have these young interns and is thorouoghly impressed with their drive to learn and commitment to being knowledgeable solar technicians…indeed they represent the future of the industry in Tanzania.

SME Charcoal Briquette Producers Emerging in Tanzania

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Charcoal briquette producers from Tumaini (“hope” in Kiswahili) group, Vikuge Village in Kibaha District, have invested in a 1.5hp electrical briquette extruder 11 months after receiving training through the “Waste to Wealth” project.  The project, which is  funded through the World Bank’s Biomass Energy Initiative for Africa (BEIA), has helped 720 people in 24 villages in two Districts to receive comprehensive training and the basic equipments to begin producing charcoal briquettes.

Mr. Rashidi Saidi Mpute, making payment on the Tumani groups new electrical briquette extruder

The Vikuge group, who participated in the training from September 20th – 24th, 2011 currently has 18 members, including 11 women and 7 men.  The group now has a strong core of committed members and are working on increasing their capacity considerably.  This is evident in the fact that the group raised 850,000 Tsh (530 USD) and purchased the electrical extruder with the aim of increasing its production capacity on a commercial scale.

In discussions with Mr. Rashidi Saidi Mpute, the groups oldest member, ARTI asked about the process the group undertook to raise the money.  Mr. Mpute simply said, “it made sense…since last year we have been producing and using the charcoal briquettes in our homes.  We have been saving the money we would of been spending on traditional charcoal and now we are spending that money to increase our capacity.  We will now be able to produce for our homes and to sell to our neighbours.  Any additional char powder we produce we can sell it to the Bagamoyo Brikwiti Company that has larger capacity extruders…we all look forward to making some money from this business.”

Mussa Omary Kaputila from Vikuge Village helps pack the Tumaini group's new extruder for transport back to the village

Mr. Mussa Omary Kaputili, another Tumaini group member, indicated that the jump from a manual extruder to an electrical extruder will significantly boost their production and profits as more energy can be dedicated to producing the char powder and selling the briquettes.

Over the past 2 years 9 charcoal briquetting groups have increased their capacity from the manual extruder to the electrical extruder, roughly increasing their capacity to 300-500kg per day.  The Bagamoyo Brikwiti Company has made a further leap in production having just  received delivery of two electrical extruders with and the capacity to produced 5000kg per day.

The adoption higher capacity extruders and the growth in entrepreneurship amongst the charcoal briquette groups trained through the BEIA project in Coast Region of Tanzania provides tangible proof of the long term viability of the industry.  With further investment this trend is most likely to continue in the same direction.