Following the launch of PaMtondo Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Change Project at Phalombe Teachers Training College in Malawi on 10th December 2021, a situational analysis challenged teacher educators and student teachers to address overdependence on charcoal and firewood by communities surrounding the college. The members of the Change Project agreed on making fire briquettes from waste paper and other plant residues. They designed a simple briquette making machine from wood. Unfortunately, the machine could not provide the pressure required to make briquettes from plant residues. The participants resorted to making briquettes from the waste paper by soaking and squeezing the water using their hands.
Pic 1: Simple briquette machine made from wood
Pic 2: Briquettes using the wooden machine
During a formative interventionist research workshop facilitated by Mr Ben de Souza, a doctoral scholar from Rhodes University in South Africa, members of the Change Project flagged several issues. For example, the briquettes were smoky and less efficient in energy production. The briquette machine itself was not disability-friendly. Learning from the workshop’s outcomes, the Change Project has devised a new briquette making machine. The college worked with a local artisan to make the machine from waste metal. Using the machine, participants can now make less smoky and more efficient briquettes from rice husks which are abundant in Phalombe.
Pic 3: Briquette machine made from waste metal
Pic 4: Briquettes made using the metal machine
The PaMtondo Change Project is one of several Change Projects being implemented in Malawi with the support of UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa in collaboration with Rhodes University. As a way of upscaling the PaMtondo ESD Change Project, the group intends to enhance the capacity of the artisan to train other local artisans in Teaching Practice Schools so that when student teachers are deployed there, briquette machines are readily available. Besides, the local artisan has been challenged to train other artisans from each feeder village of the Teaching Practice Schools, so that briquette machines are also available in communities. Learners who demonstrate proficiency in the school-based clubs will be supported to form Community-based PaMtondo ESD clubs, which will be open to members of the community of any age, gender, race, disability or any aspect of diversity.
Phalombe Teachers Training College invites partners to come forward to support this Change Project model, which demonstrates how the local community from the project area divert from clearing woodlands and forests for income and fuel to making and using briquettes and selling the excess for improved quality of both their lives and that of the planet. On the other hand, learners develop the necessary skills, knowledge, values and attitudes for environmental integrity and poverty reduction.
Source: ELRC, Prof H. Lotz-Sisitka & Phalombe TTC, Mr T. Magwira