Ismail Ibrahim Muhammed is an urban refugee residing in Kisenyi. We met him at the urban refugee centre in Kabuusuhas. He encountered a lot of challenges especially when it comes to buying firewood and other stoves whose durability lasts only about a month after which break or get spoilt. He also claims that its hard to keep food warm since it requires the use of firewood to warm it and yet fetching firewood is tedious and charcoal is an expensive option in Uganda.

His story relates to most of the refugees in Uganda and the citizens alike. The cost of fuel increases day by day especially charcoal; currently, a full bag of charcoal costs between UGX. 50,000 to UGX. 100,000. This is too costly for Ismail and his family to afford.

According to Sarah Basemera, the team leader at Raising Gabdho Foundation, the introduction of cooking baskets was to address the problem of high cost of fuel. The hay basket (or cooking basket) is an ideal way to keep food warm or to finish the cooking process which allows one to cook food while saving fuel at the same time.

The hay basket is a braided basket made of locally available plaiting materials like hay, reed, grass or bamboo. The plaiting materials are lined inside with fabric, filled with cotton or other insulating materials like chicken feathers, hay, grass, millet chaff, wool, rags or even recycled plastic bags.

RGF works with communities through training refugees on how to make and sell the baskets using locally available materials and resources as a way to develop lasting approaches to safe and sustainable energy access.

At only UGX. 50,000 as a one-time expense, Ismail was able to own a cooking basket. Food is prepared using fuel for about five to ten minutes and is then placed in the cooking basket. This allows one to use the remaining fuel to prepare other foods hence using less fuel that would have been used to fully prepare all meals. After a few hours in the basket, the food is ready to eat.

“We are really thankful to whoever brought this idea. It is helpful especially if the charcoal is finished. With the basket, I don’t have to take my food to the fire again to make it hot.  That would be wasting a lot of charcoal.”

Raising Gabdho, as a social enterprise, aims at accelerating clean energy uptake through innovative products to strengthen self-reliance and resilience to energy poverty among the vulnerable communities.