Uganda Native Sanga Moses Awarded $1 Million to Boost his Innovative Energy Business, Eco-Fuel Africa

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Sanga Moses is a passionate social entrepreneur. Six years ago the Uganda native started a remarkable journey to launch a clean and sustainable energy initiative in his homeland.

In an audacious move, he quit his accounting job with just $500 in savings to find a solution to Uganda’s over reliance on wood-fuel for cooking, which was causing deforestation and socio-economic issues in his impoverished community.

In an interview with UrbanGeekz, he says he was inspired to take action after he witnessed his 12-year-old sister skip school to carry firewood to their family for fuel. At that moment he knew he had to do whatever he could to find an alternative source of fuel, he says.

“When my sister saw me, she started crying and told me she was tired of missing school to gather firewood,” he says. “This troubled me so much because I was paying school fees for my sister and wanted her to get an education.”

Moses spent a year researching possible solutions until he figured he could turn farm and municipal waste [sugarcane waste, coffee husks and rice husks etc.], which was abundant, into eco-friendly cooking fuel, that’s cleaner and 65 percent cheaper than wood-fuel.

By April 2010, Sanga launched Eco-­fuel Africa. “I had to sell most of my belongings, including my bed, to pay for the launch,” says Moses, who’s a Business Administration college graduate. “Even so, Eco-­fuel Africa [EFA] introduced its first products in November 2010, less than two years after I saw my sister carrying her bundle of wood.”

Eco-­fuel Africa trains farmers to turn agricultural waste into char powder, which is used as a substitute for wood-fuel. The non-profit serves more than 115,000 people on a daily basis and demand for their fuel exceeds supply. It uses its proceeds to plant trees. The target is to plant at least a quarter of a billion trees in Africa by 2020.

“Fewer forests are being depleted and there are more jobs for women and farmers since Eco-­fuel Africa began,” he adds, “ We have also seen more girls enroll and stay in school. Currently, 4,209 marginalized girls in Uganda are able to go to school consistently because of our project.”

“Now that we have found an effective formula, I am determined to expand the system and replicate it to other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa,” Moses says.

In fact, Eco-fuel Africa is the 2014 recipient of Verizon’s 2014 Powerful Answer Award, a global challenge that rewards ideas that leverage cutting-edge technology to create solutions that deliver social good.

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