A women group in Kisumu has come up with a new and environmentally friendly mode of cooking, after embarking on the production of porridge-made charcoal briquettes.

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The group of three, which operates from Manyatta slums, is using cassava porridge to hold charcoal dust together, the end product being affordable cooking fuel.

Rose Akinyi, the group's founder, says that they prepare the porridge at night and mix it with the dust before pouring the mixture into a machine that compresses it firmly at daytime.

She told the Standard that the product is then left to dry, before being supplied to customers, a job she began last year, after which her two colleagues, joined her.

"The machine eases our work as we only do the mixing and it takes less time in doing the grinding and compressing the briquettes," she says.

Akinyi says that they use four kilos of cassava, which costs Sh200 and a sack of charcoal dust (Sh400), to make a sack of briquettes which fetches Sh1800.

According to Akinyi, the briquettes are not only environmental-friendly but economical as well, as they don't exhaust as quick as other cooking materials when put into use.

“I first bought the briquettes at Sh100 just to try them out since I had been using charcoal all along. I found them cheap and easy to use. I use only four rods or balls of briquets to cook all my meals," she says.

She says that the three of them, who have named their group 'Konyri Kendi' (help yourself), got the skills from Practical Action, an NGO, which trained them for two weeks.