Clean Fuels and Cookstoves for Schools in Uganda

by The Charcoal Project
Oct 17, 2011

Rubaare Update: Meet Isaac

Isaac Owor
Isaac Owor

Dear Friend & Supporter:

If you’re like me, you file your important emails in folders in Outlook or Gmail or whatever email client you use. All of my emails relating to our Uganda project go into a folder called "Rubaare." I had to go back into my "Orphans" folder – where all worthy requests get filed – to find my first communication with Henry Twinemasiko, the director and founder of the Rubaare Education Foundation and our partner. That email dates back to late October 2010. (The founding of The Charcoal Project goes back to October 2009.)

Today, a year on, we are happy to announce that thanks to your generous financial support in August, we are now kicking off our project in the  Rubaare school district in Uganda!  Yay! 

As you know, the school district there is in urgent need of woodfuel for cooking. Our goal, in part, is to help them learn to make biomass briquettes out of agricultural waste as an alternative to wood. As of today, briquette presses have been ordered, supplies are being purchased and training will begin in just a couple of weeks.  

The wood energy crisis visiting Rubaare is unfortunately not limited to the school district. It extends to other districts and parts of western and northern Uganda. Our goal is to create a model that can be replicated elsewhere in Uganda and eventually in other countries. Please visit our Rubaare project page to see videos and photos and a narrative of the project.

But back to Rubaare.

How are we coordinating a project so far away you wonder?  Well, an integral part of our team in Uganda is Isaac Owor, a Kampala-based entrepreneur that has perfected a charcoal briquette-making process.  Isaac is responsible for many aspects of the project there, including training of the students in the craft of briquette making.  We’ll be updating you again once the project is further along, so please stay tuned.

We asked Isaac to tell us about himself and his work.

Isaac Owor - EnviroCoal

I grew up in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, and was able to get schooling as a result.  I loved dancing and caring for others so I started a dance troupe for orphans when I was 15.  I then worked as a master performer traveling around eastern Africa, teaching the essentials of African music - drumming, dancing and singing.

About 2 1/2 years ago, I learned about briquette making and obtained the basic technology necessary to start making my own.  I was able teach my dance students the valuable skill of briquette making and soon founded EnviroCoal to carry out our mission.  We’ve now trained many groups, although women and girls are the main beneficiaries. We’ve also established three school briquette programs and are now training a number of women's groups.  Every time a group is trained and purchases the presses, they have the ability to earn extra income for school fees and life's necessities.  

Today, EnviroCoal produces about 1,500 briquettes per day. The company also produces Peterson presses (the briquette-making presses that use a hydraulic jack) and clean burning stoves that burn the briquettes.  

If you would like to read more about Isaac's background, check out the blog posting on

If you are interested in helping further with our Rubaare project, there is a special bonus day on the GlobalGiving Fundraising site on October 19th.  Global Giving is providing a 30% match on donations of up to $1,000 on that day.  Just make a donation on October 19th at, and we will receive the matching funds as well.

Thanks again for your support and we look forward to giving you further updates on our Rubaare project!



Kim Chaix and Sylvia Herzog

Isaac demonstrating a Peterson Press
Isaac demonstrating a Peterson Press
EnviroCoal Production Crew
EnviroCoal Production Crew
Woman learning how to use a briquette press
Woman learning how to use a briquette press
Fuel Briquettes
Fuel Briquettes

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Organization Information

The Charcoal Project

Location: Brooklyn, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​
The Charcoal Project
Project Leader:
Sylvia Herzog
Mount Kisco, NY United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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