Since 2009 we have been engaged in activities aimed at fighting desertification in the Mongu District
  • For many years, CELIM has been working in the District of Mongu implementing activities of sustainable forest management. This new two-year project aims to reduce the indiscriminate felling of trees, which mainly arises from the need to produce charcoal for everyday use.

    Project objectives: to reduce the environmental, social and economic degradation of the Western Province by cutting down the use of charcoal replacing it with briquettes made with waste material, in collaboration with a local private enterprise.

  • in 6 months, 22.4 tons of CO2 have not been emitted into the atmosphere thanks to the use of briquettes

    1 ton of briquettes per day produced in the first year of activity

    the entire population of Mongu will benefit from forest conservation

Over 65% of Zambia is covered with forests but every year an area equivalent to Luxembourg is lost.
People cut trees indiscriminately for firewood, which they use to keep warm and to make charcoal for cooking; often they also burn the forest to obtain land to cultivate.

75% of Zambians have no access to electricity: wood and coal are the main sources of energy for domestic use.

In rural areas of the Western Province each person uses an average of 1 ton of coal per year: deforestation is such that the situation has become unsustainable, both for the environment and for the families that live here.

A glimpse of what remains of the forest in some areas of Mongu

Burning trees causes an inexorable desertification of the land

The rates of deforestation and uncontrolled and unpunished fires are alarming: one of the most evident consequences is soil erosion.

When people burn forests in order to obtain fields to cultivate, they unwittingly produce instead the desertification of the soil itself.

As a result, agricultural production is compromised and environmental damage is irreparable.
The co-operation between institutions and the population has been critical to identify possible solutions aimed to contrast such behaviours and to help reduce the effects of climate change, of which they are the contributing cause.

Awareness-raising activities in schools
Awareness-raising activities in schools
Awareness-raising activities in schools
Awareness-raising activities in schools

This project is the latest act of a series of initiatives set in motion on a trial basis in 2009 that have always had very specific objectives. Each initiative was in fact specifically created to help protect and enhance the Western Province’s biodiversity and to offer significant support to improve the nutritional conditions and the economic security of families, also by creating sources of income other than tree cutting.

Specifically we have created nurseries, planted new trees and developed fire prevention measures; we have implemented awareness raising and information campaigns in schools and clinics; we have supported 100% natural soap laboratories produced using the oil of a native plant, mostly managed by women. We have promoted the use of improved ovens among families and in schools to reduce energy waste and to fight diseases caused by smoke emissions. Finally, we have set up the production of fuels from recycled waste.
Sawmills and furniture factories are Mongu’s main production sector, but over half of raw material comes out of the machinery in the shape of waste and dust. For this reason, by diffusing the use pellets made with sawdust, materials that would otherwise increase the amount of waste affecting the Province can be recycled; on the other hand this offers a viable alternative energy source that prevents deforestation to obtain coal.

  • My name is Jacopo Turini, I am 38 and I am the project manager.
From sawdust to briquette production
From sawdust to briquette production
From sawdust to briquette production
From sawdust to briquette production
From sawdust to briquette production

Project’s overview

Consolidating the previous three-year projects “Biodiversity, environmental protection and economic development” and “Sustainable management of forests” in Mongu. This project aims to reduce the environmental, social and economic degradation in the Mongu area by co-operating with a local private company to produce recycled fuel.

Activities include:

  • production of briquettes made with the waste from local sawmills
  • training workers in environmentally-friendly coal production
  • supplying equipment for the production of environmentally-friendly charcoal production (carbonization machine, crusher, wood shredder, trailer and dryer)
  • raising awareness on the consequences on environment and health of the indiscriminate use of firewood and charcoal and information on the use of alternative energies.

Beneficiaries: 64 people receiving special training, 100 teachers and 6,076 children being made aware of climate change, sustainable resource management and reforestation.

In the long run, the entire population of Mongu (150,000 people) will enjoy better health and economic benefits.

  • Project title
    Production of briquettes and inclusive green economy in Mongu: a bridge for a sustainable business

    Project manager
    Jacopo Turini,

    June 2015 / May 2017

  • Partner
    Mongu Joinery Sawmill

    Other entities involved
    Diocese of Mongu Development Center – DMDC, Forestry Department, Barotse Royal Establishment