Category Archives: Charcoal Burning

Disturbance in the coastal forest

A group of forest staff and volunteers recently set out to do a primate community survey on transect one. This involves walking along the set forest transect and looking for troops of Colobus and Sykes monkeys. Transect one has been subject to substantial disturbance and felling in the past due to its prime location on the coast, easily accessible by dirt track – a few sections of this transect that run through a large clearing that we call Mordor- due to its resemblance to the Lord of the Rings setting! This clearing has been present for over 18 months, although over recent months has been steadily increasing in size. This week the group found that a large area past Mordor, further along our transect had also been cleared within the last few weeks.
Charcoal burning in Shimoni Forest

Charcoal burning in Shimoni Forest

The good news is that the group were still able to spot a troop of Colobus during the survey, but an unsettling fact is that some of the monkeys were on the ground which is considered unusual behaviour for a species that favours the upper canopy. The behavioural and disturbance data we get from our transects is a great way of establishing how the loss of habitat is affecting this already rare primate.

Trees are felled for timber and to clear land, reducing habitat for the rare Colobus

Trees are felled for timber and to clear land, reducing habitat for the rare Colobus

Disturbance in the form of pit saws, charcoal pits, and clearings is becoming more and more common place on all our transects, and we are collating all evidence from 2007 to present to find out exactly how this is affecting all our target species.

Training Ends – And A Group Is Formed

So with Mwenge whipping up a replicate press in a morning, we headed back to Anziwani to start the last few days of training. Koppa, one of the trainees, and also a Friends of Shimoni guide, had made a bet with Mwenge. Koppa believed that the press would break, and Mwenge said that there was no chance of that happening. So 100ksh was put down on the table, and Koppa definitely tried his hardest to test the limits of the press in the next few days!

Mwenge the carpenter with the second press

Mwenge the carpenter with the second press

Over the whole training several combinations of raw material were briquetted. Cardboard that had been shredded into small pieces, and soaked in water for 2 weeks, was pounded and brought into the mix during the last few days.

The new press in action

The new press in action

So the final practical day ended, and we had one in-tact press and a total of 140 briquettes made! The briquettes that contained charcoal fines in any percentage were definitely the favorite, simply for the fact that they do look very similar to charcoal.

Some of the briquettes that were made during the training

Some of the briquettes that were made during the training

The last day came, and we had 9 of our trainees there, with the other sending their apologies for not being able to attend. The opening to the day was led with a prayer, and then we moved on to the topic of the day “What is the next step?” By going round the room, Isaiah asked each person, what they thought the next step was. It was a unanimous vote, to start a group.

The agenda for the final day, written on the blackboard

The agenda for the final day, written on the blackboard

The election began, and there was a slight delay as two of the trainees were put forward for Chairman. This caused a little bit of a ruckus, but in a positive way. The problem some of the trainees had was that they believed that Hamisi and the other Friends of Shimoni Forest guides, should not be elected as key members of the group. They believed that as the training was for charcoal burners, the group should be lead by charcoal burners, in creating an alternative to charcoal. So everyone agreed, and the committee was elected.

As we headed back to Shimoni, we were all was extremely happy with the group’s decisions. Making a group was the best outcome Friends of Shimoni Forest could have got from setting up the training in biomass fuel briquettes. The road in front of us seemed bright, but of course we would have to be ready for the inevitable bumps and glitches that any new group has to overcome to succeed.

Matata, the chairman of Friends of Shimoni Forest says a few words at the end of the day

Matata, the chairman of Friends of Shimoni Forest says a few words at the end of the day

Another Minor Crack On The Road To Briquetting

The alternative to charcoal training workshop in Anziwani had now been running for 5 days. The attendance of all the trainees had been excellent, with pretty much everyone turning up each day, and we had successfully made the first sample biomass fuel briquettes! However it hadn’t been all smooth running…. The press had shown some weaknesses and the dividers hadn’t handled the force of the jack. But these problems had been dealt with thanks to the help of several local fundis (craftsmen), and we were still moving forward. Not to say that would be the end of the obstacles!

Lawama, one of the trainees holding a briquette made during the training

Lawama, one of the trainees holding a briquette made during the training

The afternoon of the 4th day, we were able to pick up the new metal dividers, ready for briquetting. The next day Isaiah decided that the best plan of action would be to continue with preparation, so that all the raw materials would be ready to use, and we could briquette non stop for the rest of the training days.  The collecting, shredding, pounding, sieving and mixing, continued.

Preparing soaked cardboard

Preparing soaked cardboard

So with all the materials prepared over the past two days, you couldn’t stop the trainees from briquetting at the start of day 6! As people were arriving, the equipment was being set up. The metal dividers looked okay from what we could see, but the real test was when we started to briquette.

The group cracking on with briquetting

The group cracking on with briquetting

The dividers must slip through the PVC pipe perfectly, plus the centre hole of the divider must be completely central to allow the inner pipe to pass through. If the divider is also too small it will reduce the ease in which the briquettes separate.  The mould was loaded and then compressed. Today we were making the briquettes with sawdust combinations. The first combo was sieved sawdust and paper that had been soaking for about two weeks.

The sawdust and paper combination briquettes

The sawdust and paper combination briquettes

When the team got to the ejection stage, the process wasn’t moving incredibly smoothly. We discovered that some of the dividers must have been getting wedged in the PVC. This led to it becoming a rather tiring and time consuming stage in the whole process. We managed to select two dividers that were sliding through the best, and continue briquetting, until… a very loud crack came from the press. It had split again, the original wood used for the frame had a weak spot where there was a knot in the wood – unfortunately exactly where it needed to be extremely strong.

The original frame cracking due to a knot in the wood

The original frame cracking due to a knot in the wood

The group appeared not to be phased by this, and discussion began on the best way to approach the problem. We planned to visit our friend, Mwenge at his carpentry workshop to have a replicate made with hardwood, before training the next day. So some might have lost interest with all these hiccups, but the group seemed to embrace them and in some way become even more enthusiastic about briquetting the following day!

Their dedication and tenacity is often inspiring!  We’ll bring you the continuation of this epic undertaking soon…

The Key To Briquetting – It’s All About Preparation

After leaving Anziwani, from the third day of the alternative to charcoal training workshop, we headed straight to Mwenge’s workshop (a local carpenter). We showed him where the press had cracked, and decided (with the help of our resident architect, Carolyn, a volunteer from GVI) where to reinforce it. We then moved on to another workshop in search of a metal fundi. Unfortnately he wasn’t around, so we planned to visit him the next morning.

We woke up bright and early and headed to the metal fundi. We explained what we needed, and he got started on the rather tricky job of making perfectly round dividers made from metal, with limited tools. However, electricity was not on our side and the power cut out. So we had to head up to Anziwani empty handed.

The local metal fundi (craftsman) replicating the plastic dividers

The local metal fundi (craftsman) replicating the plastic dividers

 

The local metal fundi (craftsman) at work

The local metal fundi (craftsman) at work

As we had successfully made some briquettes the day before, the whole group just wanted to keep going! So when we turned up with the bad news of the dividers not being ready, everyone was a little upset. However raw materials needed to be prepared, so we cracked on.

Isaiah explaining the importance of proper preparation

Isaiah explaining the importance of proper preparation

So the agenda was preparation. More pounding of the dry mango leaves had to be done so one group started on that. Isaiah wanted the group to see for themselves, the difference and effect it can have when you remove the stalk and when you leave them on. So more competitions of clapping and pounding continued!

Sambarare and Nassir pounding dried mango leaves

Sambarare and Nassir pounding dried mango leaves

The charcoal dust we had sorted the previous day had left us with a bag full of pieces of whole charcoal. To use it for the training process, we had to make it into fine dust, so a bag and large piece of wood was located and charcoal bashing began!

Mwingi bashing the charcoal in to dust

Mwingi bashing the charcoal in to dust

The sawdust that GVI had collected was then sieved using a mosquito net, so that we collected only the very fine particles. Due to there being a few holes in the net, a couple of us started on patching them up. If we had access to a millet grinder this would be have been a lot easier as it would grind all the particles down and nothing would be wasted. Unfortunately we did not, so we sieved the particles out manually.

Sieving sawdust using a mosquito net

Sieving sawdust using a mosquito net

As we headed home to Shimoni, we had our fingers crossed that the electricity would be back on, so we could continue briquetting tomorrow!

Walking back from Anziwani Village at the end of day 4

Walking back from Anziwani Village at the end of day 4

Let The Briquetting Begin!

So with the theory and history of biomass fuel briquettes covered in the previous days we moved on to the practical sessions. Over the next couple of days we prepared the raw materials we had collected and made our first briquettes!  For the third day of training, we were joined by some GVI staff and volunteers eager to see the briquetting in action.

The biomass fuel briquette training team

The biomass fuel briquette training team

Isaiah explained that the preparation of the raw materials is probably the most important part of making biomass fuel briquettes. If the material is not soaked, pounded or decomposed for long enough, the briquettes can smoke or not hold together properly. Due to the training only being 9 days long, the stage of decomposing the materials had to be missed. The main impact of this is that the briquettes would probably smoke, due to some chemicals not being broken down enough.  But the main purpose of the training is to show the trainees the key stages so this was not a concern.

Isaiah explaining some of the preparation methods

 
Isaiah explaining some of the preparation methods

When preparing the dried mango leaves for briquetting, the first step is to remove the stalk, so that you are left with only the dried leaf. If you leave the stalk in the material it can have a negative impact on the briquette once it is pressed. This is due to the stalk not breaking down, causing the briquette to become loose as the stalks bend.  If the composting stage is carried out this is not a problem.

Anna removing the stalks of the dried mango tree leaves

Anna removing the stalks of the dried mango tree leaves

The pounding of the dried leaves using a large mortar and pestal is the next step, so that the leaves are broken down even further. This ended up being a very energetic and fun part of the preparation, with everyone getting involved and showing their skills of clapping whilst pounding!

The ladies pounding the dried mango tree leaves

The ladies pounding the dried mango tree leaves

 

Matt from GVI getting involved

Matt from GVI getting involved

Another of the materials to be used is the dust left at the bottom of a sack of charcoal. You might think that this defeats the purpose of making an alternative to charcoal, but the charcoal dust is usually wasted, and one thing in briquetting is that you should try not to waste anything! When introducing this alternative to communities it can also help them except it, as it looks very similar to charcoal. The charcoal dust had to sorted to ensure that there were no large particles.

Sorting the charcoal dust

Sorting the charcoal dust

After mixing the materials in the correct ratios, and carrying out several tests to ensure the mix was the right consistency; the squeeze, bounce and shake tests. The briquetting then began! All the trainees were desperate to have a go, and see the press in action, with each team taking a turn to make their own.

The squeeze test

The squeeze test

 

The press in action

The press in action

When the first briquettes were ejected from the mould set (PVC pipe), massive smiles broke out across the faces of the trainees!  The briquetting continued until during the pressing stage, the wooden frame made a rather bad cracking sound. The frame started to buckle under the pressure of the jack, due to it being soft wood. The plastic dividers used to separate the briquettes, also felt the pressure, with one deciding to crack. Fortunately this was near the end of the day, so the day wasn’t cut short. A visit to a couple of fundis (craftsmen) in the village was quickly planned for the afternoon to sort out these problems.

Isaiah Maobe with the first briquettes made in Anziwani Village

Isaiah Maobe with the first briquettes made in Anziwani Village

Hamisi and Hassan with their briquettes

Hamisi and Hassan with their briquettes

No one seemed disheartened and it simply provided a small challenge to solve and overcome!

kez

 

Biasha placing the briquettes in the sun to dry

Biasha placing the briquettes in the sun to dry

Charcoal Training Off To A Sizzling Start

With the training on an alternative to charcoal starting the next day and having all the materials together, the next step was transporting them to the village of Anziwani. This sounds quite simple but as we discover there were a few hurdles. The first, being the handles breaking on the plastic buckets containing a lot of paper and at least 60 litres of water. The second carrying them it in the dark over 200m of coral rag and the third getting the truck stuck in mud outside the Madrassa, in Anziwani, the venue we would be using for the training.
The Madrassa, Anziwani Village (venue of the training)

The Madrassa, Anziwani Village (venue of the training)

Once back in Shimoni, Isaiah Maobe (our biomass fuel briquette trainer) arrived on a matatu from Mombasa.  From the moment he arrived, there was no doubt that he was a truly honest and genuine gentleman, full of wisdom.  Any worries I had quickly diminished.

Isaiah Maobe, our Biomass Fuel Briquette Trainer

Isaiah Maobe, our Biomass Fuel Briquette Trainer

Unfortunately there were some issues about the list that the trainees would sign-up on; it did not reach the community. So as myself, Isaiah, our three FSF tour guides and Asha, walked the 3km up the dirt road to Anziwani, we had no idea who would show. The training was scheduled to start at 8.30am, people slowly joined us in the Madrassa and we were able to start training with a total of 14 people!

Gathering outside the Madrassa, for the training

Gathering outside the Madrassa, for the training

Some people I recognized, but there were a few new faces. We started the training by introducing ourselves. At first, many of the attendees appeared rather shy and cautious. As people were introducing themselves several said their job was carrying out casual work. Everyone just looked at each other, nervously, until one guy came straight out with it “I’m a charcoal burner”. This caused the group to burst in to fits of laughter, and the ice was broken.

 

Introductions at the start of the day

Introductions at the start of the day

The first day consisted of sorting out the schedule for the week, voting for the chairman, time keeper and discipline master, and going through the theory and history of biomass fuel briquetting. Looking around the classroom nearly everyone was taking notes, and several were asking questions. When Isaiah was explaining the importance of the forest to the community he quoted Mahatma Gandhi (India), “What we are doing to the forest of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and another”.

The history of biomass fuel briquettes

The history of biomass fuel briquettes

 The last topic covered were the advantages of the biomass fuel briquettes; 1. Saves the environment, 2. Generates income, 3. Saves energy, 4. Saves time and 5. Saves money. You could see by some people’s faces and the few questions asked that people were still a bit doubtful and needed to see it to believe it. 

Isaiah teaching the theory of briquetting

Isaiah teaching the theory of briquetting

We ended the day by collecting some raw materials for the next day’s practical session, in the form of dry mango leaves. On our walk back to Shimoni, we discussed the day’s events. Isaiah had spoken to a few of the trainees, who had shown a lot of interest, and said if this training goes well, this is something they would really like to do. We walked home with high hopes for the rest of the week.

The group collecting dried mango leaves for practical training the next day

The group collecting dried mango leaves for practical training the next day

Group photo at the end of day one

Group photo at the end of day one

Getting Set To Briquette

Many meetings and discussions have been going on in the last few weeks for Friends of Shimoni Forest, including the date being set for the “Production of Alternative to Charcoal” training course, starting tomorrow.

After contacting the Legacy Foundation (www.legacyfound.org), a company that has much experience in the biomass fuel briquette world, being involved in consultancy, improving the technology and also producing several training manuals. Through this organization a man by the name of Isaiah Maobe, a biomass fuel briquettes trainer from the Stewart Organisation based in Nairobi, contacted us and was keen to work with us.

Briquettes in action (courtesy of gorillacd.org)

Briquettes in action (courtesy of gorillacd.org)

With the very generous funding and a huge thank you to Choice Geophysical, a seismic data processing company based in Haddington, Scotland, we were able to welcome Isaiah on board and plan to carry out a 7 – 10 day training course in biomass fuel briquetting!

The next step was getting together a group of people to carry out the training. Several members of FSF were interested in taking part but have full time jobs and are unable to miss work for this length of time. After meeting with the area assistant chief, Adini, we decided to approach the main people carrying out charcoal burning in the forest. Most of the charcoal burners are from the neighbouring village of Anziwani and are the guys that are out in the forest all day every day carrying out this activity. So we arranged a meeting with them and myself and Athumani (Treasurer of FSF) headed to Anziwani.

The Peterson's Press used in making biomass fuel briquettes

The Peterson's Press used in making biomass fuel briquettes

The meeting went well, with most of the attendees taking part sharing their opinions and concerns. Their questions and concerns were the straight to the point, plausible and extremely important. These included “How will the community except this new type of charcoal”, “Will it bring in the same amount of money as charcoal?” and “We were born into this work, we know no different”.

We explained how the process would be slow at the start, and it may take a bit of time for the community to accept this new way. The discussion then turned to highlight the fact that charcoal burning is illegal. This is when one man stepped forward and gave his insight. He highlighted the point that this job will not be around for much longer. The two major reasons for this being that the Kenya Government could easily do a crack down on these activities in the near future and the other being the fact the forest is disappearing. They spoke about how there are hardly any hardwood trees left in the forest, and now they resort to using softwood, which produces lower quality charcoal at the cost of many more trees being cut down.

We left with much hope, as several said they would attend the training. We’re still waiting to confirm numbers and should know tomorrow.  We will also have representatives from FSF, in the form of our 3 budding tour guides; Koppa, Hamisi and Hassan, and the chairman of Friends of Shimoni Forest, Matata’s wife, Asha Omar.

GVI collecting sawdust from a local carpenter's workshop

GVI collecting sawdust from a local carpenter's workshop

So preparations have included collecting the materials needed for the week. This included a team of GVI volunteers visiting local carpenters’ workshops and gathering sawdust into bags, to be used in the training. The press was also checked, other equipment organized and transport planned.

We’ll keep you updated with all the activities! It’s going to be a good week!

kez

Charcoal Alternative On The Way!

On a short trip back to Scotland, from Kenya to spend time with the family over the Christmas period, I took full advantage of the speedy broadband internet, which isn’t really an option in the small Muslim village of Shimoni!  Whilst curled up on the sofa, with the snow falling outside, huddled in a duvet with a cup of tea in hand, I was researching the topic of alternatives to charcoal as a project for Friends of Shimoni Forest…

Shimoni Forest is being lost at an alarming rate to human disturbance, through timber extraction, clearing for coastal developments and agriculture along with charcoal burning. During the past few years, charcoal burning has been occurring at a more frequent rate. Meetings with charcoal burners have been held in the past. One of the most reoccurring themes brought to the table is that the people doing the charcoal burning, usually don’t want to! The fact is there is often no other option for earning money.  Money that is needed to put food on the table for their families, to put their children through education and paying for medical bills. 

An earth-mound kiln ready to burn. This is a very destructive and inefficient way of making charcoal

An earth-mound kiln ready to burn. This is a very destructive and inefficient way of making charcoal

I know that some families cope with these problems in more environmentally friendly ways and people may not do it for these reasons, so it shouldn’t be socially acceptable. But putting yourself in these people’s shoes highlights how desperate these people are when they’re pushed to carry out this back-breaking work to make probably very little profit at all.

Many groups around the world have been initiating alternative to charcoal projects in the hope to slow down and stop deforestation.  There have also been many success stories; small scale projects like a women’s groups in Uganda making banachakol, to long term projects such as a hospital in the east of the DR Congo which has been using fuel briquettes intensively for the past year.

A charcoal pit during the burning process - in which 80% of the energy in the wood is lost

A charcoal pit during the burning process - in which 80% of the energy in the wood is lost

So an alternative needs to be found for Shimoni and the villages surrounding it. Through my research at Christmas I contacted Paul Alley of the fuel briquette team of the Rotary Club of Beaverton, based in Oregon, USA.  A member of their rotary club has designed a machine that is used when making biomass fuel briquettes, called the Peterson’s press. After speaking to Paul he offered to donate a press to the Friends of Shimoni Forest project!  He said they have found that local craftsmen can copy the press more successfully from a real model than paper plans.

The pit that remains after the burning process will remain like that for years

The pit that remains after the burning process will look like that for years

Myself, and Friends of Shimoni Forest cannot thank Paul and his colleagues at the Rotary Club of Beaverton enough for this generous donation! The press finally arrived from the USA having been lovingly carried through a total of 6 airport terminals by Corti!

So the experimenting will begin! We need to start by trying out the different materials we can source in the area; coconut husks and maize are readily available so discovering the simplest and most effective way to break these down into very small pieces needs to be found. We have already read up on using machinery to do this (but it is a little expensive!) and a burning technique using an oil drum. 

 

The bags of charcoal then get transported to various locations for sale

The bags of charcoal then get transported to various locations for sale

So stay posted, as we will be documenting all the trials and tribulations that we encounter! If anyone has any knowledge, experience or ideas that may help us out along the way they will be greatly appreciated!!!  Again, a massive thanks to the Rotary Club of Beaverton and a special thanks to Paul Alley and the gentleman that made the press! This could be the start of something really incredible!

Kez

Community Conservation Marching Forward

Jambo everyone,

 

A couple of days ago we had a meeting with Friends of Shimoni Forest (FSF) that went rather well, so I thought I’d tell you about it!  GVI work very closely with FSF, passing on the results of our research to them, and helping them to achieve their aims of community-led conservation and sustainable livelihoods. 

 

At the meeting there was myself, Kez and Jodie representing GVI, and about 10 member of FSF including Matata (Chairman) and Athumani (treasurer).  It was really good to see a few of the younger men from Shimoni as well.  FSF are in the middle of a recruitment drive, so we had made a presentation for the newcomers, covering the history and past achievements of FSF, current initiatives and future plans. 

 

Some of the FSF members.  Matata (Chairman) third from the left, and Athumani (Treasurer) second from the left

Some of the FSF members. Matata (Chairman) third from the left, and Athumani (Treasurer) second from the left

 

First on the agenda was the tourist trail.  The tourist trail has been moving ahead well, with the trail cut and ready, but has ground to a frustrating halt due to the lack of tour guides.  GVI had offered to fully train the guides, passing on all of our collective knowledge about the flora and fauna of the forest, as well as the broader environmental issues facing the forest.  We would also provide some basic training on dealing with tourists and hospitality.  Unfortunately, we have had difficulty in finding appropriate candidates.

 

We hope to have solved this problem now, thanks to the presence of two young men who are part of the Safe Shimoni Youth Group.  They loved the idea, and invited us to present the opportunity to their members at their next meeting, as there were many young people just out of school who would jump at the opportunity for free training and further education, and the potential for a job.  We went to their meeting yesterday, and are thrilled to have four enthusiastic new applicants!

 

An area of mangroves that will be seen on the tourist trail

An area of mangroves that will be seen on the tourist trail

 

Next on the agenda was the alternative charcoal we have been researching.  We have lots of information on various different methods, and have begun stockpiling materials.  We are now simply waiting for the prototype briquette press, which has been donated to us FOR FREE!  So a massive heartfelt thank you to Paul Alley and the Beaverton Rotary Fuel Briquette Team!  We discussed the plans for future training, and already have a group of eager volunteers, thanks to the meeting.  We also discussed how to go about harnessing all of the burnable organic waste in the village that is going to fuel our alternative charcoal industry!  We are joining forces with the GVI community development team who are planning a waste disposal drive with the Shimoni Health Committee.

 

An old charcoal pit in the forest

An old charcoal pit in the forest

 

We then put forward the idea of planting fast growing trees such as bamboo and neem, so that they can be harvested for fishing and construction materials – which are a major threat to young trees in the forest at the moment.  The major hurdle right now is land.  There is little or no land in the area that is not in private hands, so the solution is finding people who own land that is currently unused, who would be willing to let FSF plant these trees.  Some ideas included using areas of land in schools, and unused parts of local shambas (farms).  It was mentioned that planting trees on and around farms would yield benefits to the farmers, such as soil anchorage.  A meeting is being set up with local farmers and the village chiefs to discuss the issue of land. 

 

An example of a young tree - the type harvested for construction

An example of a young tree - the type harvested for construction

 

The final point was about tree nurseries.  The forest is in desperate need of re-planting, if we are to begin reversing some of the damage done.  FSF are going to start indigenous nurseries in schools with the advice and help of a local botanist from National Museums of Kenya.  It was decided to start these in schools, as looking after the trees can be done (in part) by the children, and will instil a sense of pride and ownership of the trees, as well as educating them in the importance of indigenous trees to an area like Shimoni Forest.

 

Trichilia emetica - an indigenous tree that is widely used by primate species for feeding, resting and socialising

Trichilia emetica - an indigenous tree that is widely used by primate species for feeding, resting and socialising

 

All in all we think it was a productive meeting, and the ideas produced a lot of enthusiasm amongst the members and non-members alike.  We are going to continue to push these ideas with the communities, and hopefully soon we will have the beginnings of some excellent initiatives that will yield vital changes and benefits, not only for Shimoni forest but for the local people as well.

Permanent Secratary Throws Throws His Weight Behind Shimoni’s Cause

Yesterday I sat down for a chat with Athumani Fadhili Ali, the secretary of Friends of Shimoni Forest (FSF), and some absolutely incredible and momentous news was revealed to me!  He had spent the last five hours in discussions with the Permanent Secretary to the Minister of Forests and Wildlife, concerning the plight of Shimoni forest! 

I was speechless and massively excited, because as it turns out, the Permanent Secretary had come all the way down to Shimoni specifically to talk to Athumani about the issues concerning the communities, and community conservation, of which the forest is a major part.
waypoint-020.JPG

 A hotel being built on a coastal plot

Athumani had described to him all of the damage being done in the forest, and the alarming rate at which it was happening.  He talked about the issues of illegal loggers and their power saws, the charcoal burning, and the huge development occurring on the coastal plots.  He also discussed the efforts of Friends of Shimoni Forest and other community members, who are doing their best to raise awareness amongst the communities, and halt the irreversible damage being done. 

220409-f.JPG 

 Barbed wire fences that now surround many plots that are being levelled
 

The Permanent Secretary was shocked and concerned by what he heard, and offered to raise the issue with the relevant authorities, and even the Minister himself!  This is such an incredible turn out, and we couldn’t really have asked for a better  audience to discuss these issues with, and the assistance he could provide could potentially change the tides of this ongoing battle.

290709-charcoal-pit.JPG 

 An earth-mound kiln charcoal pit
 

What the Permanent Secretary asked for ASAP, were all of the reports that FSF and GVI have ever written and submitted, so he could get a better understanding of the issues and have some hard data with which to argue our case. 

p1020442.JPG 

 The results of a power saw.  Trees are often cut down badly, and therefore simply left.
 

We are rushing to compile all of this information and get it to Athumani, so he can pass it on.  We’re all very excited by this, and we will let you know as soon as we hear anything!

Keep your fingers crossed for us!

 To help support Friends of Shimoni Forest and the work they are doing, please visit www.justgiving/shimoni