This video trains people to:

  1. Make and use a cooking hole with crop waste (maize stalks and cobs, cassava stems, banana stems and peels, elephant grass, etc.).
  2. Make biochar in the cooking hole.
  3. “Charge” the biochar with urine.
  4. Apply biochar to their crops as a fertilizer.

The cooking hole is a hole about 25x25x25 cm in the center of an open-fire cookstove, often a three-stone cookstove. A pile maize stalks is lit on top. The fire will burn down without tending so the women can do other things, something they cannot do when cooking with wood. When the fire gets low, the embers can be quenched to make biochar.

Biochar is greatly improved when it absorbs nutrients (nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus) from urine. Then the biochar can be used as a free fertilizer to greatly improve crop production.

The cooking hole and biochar have these benefits:

  1. Save women time collecting firewood. Women and girls in Sub-Saharan Africa spend and average of 2.1 hours a day collecting firewood, putting themselves at risk of sexual assault and animal attacks.
  2. Reduce smoke exposure since women do not need to tend the fire.
  3. Reduce deforestation.
  4. Mitigate climate change. The use of renewable fuel reduces the carbon dioxide emissions. And using biochar sequesters carbon.

The Catholic Church (through Caritas) in Nigeria, Tanzania and Cameroon are sending the training video to the women leaders in every parish in their countries asking the leaders to share the video throughout their parishes. We hope Caritas in all Sub-Saharan countries will join us. We are also training in Uganda, Kenya and Malawi through Catholic parishes and through farmer and self help group associations.