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Energising big change in Kenya – Laventer’s success story

By Practical Action On 02.09.2021 ElectricityFood & agriculturePovertyBlog



For Laventer Adhiambo life in Brumba village, Busia County, was full of tough challenges. Laventer and her husband were struggling to provide for their seven children, constantly worrying about the next meal. Unemployment loomed over the family – leaving little room for a better life.

Fast forward a year a half, and Laventer’s family is now thriving thanks to her briquette business.

Supported by Practical Action in partnership with GIZ and EnDev, hundreds of entrepreneurs like Laventer learnt how to build their business and grow their management skills.

Laventer has not only found success with her briquette business, but formed strong bonds with other local entrepreneurs too

Laventer not only provides for her family, but also promotes clean energy alternatives to her community.

Practical Action created the “Alternative Fuels for Clean Cooking and Productive Use” project to support entrepreneurs and promote alternative clean fuels for cooking and productive use.

Through her own hard work, Laventer has found community through her peers and is known to her many customers for her signature smile, enterprising spirit and her briquette business.

Briquettes are manufactured logs made from compressed wood by-products and provide an alternative to traditional firewood logs for cooking. With support from Practical Action staff and partners, Laventer not only provides for her family, but also promotes clean energy alternatives to her community.

Laventer’s business is now thriving, with a wide-ranging customer base

Now, over 200,000 people in the Busia and Bungoma counties enjoy a smokeless cooking experience because of the adoption of briquettes, improved cookstoves, bioethanol stoves and pellets produced and sold by energy entrepreneurs.

With clean energy entrepreneurs now enjoying an increased income, a new savings culture has been created through the Village Savings and Loaning Association (VSLA), where each group member can save surplus income from their business profits and apply for loans to boost their business.

Lavanter holding briquettes produced using her own machine

Recently, Laventer made the bold step to acquire a loan in order to buy her own briquette production machine. By owning her own machine, Laventer now has full control of her production schedule to meet the growing demand for briquettes in her area. Her new machine allows her to produce up to 400kg of briquettes per day comfortably, and transport them to her many loyal customers.

Laventer isn’t alone. Since 2019: 

  • 85% of the trained energy entrepreneurs and their households now have increased income after engagement with the project
  • 120 energy entrepreneurs have enhanced knowledge and skills on business development, agency empowerment, leadership and alternative fuels production
  • Over 200,000 people have been reached with alternative fuels, reducing health risks associated with the use of traditional cooking fuels and technologies
  • More than 50 social institutions have adopted the use of alternative fuels
  • Over 80 Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in the two counties are now using alternative fuels
  • Successful links with private sector suppliers allows an increasing range of alternative fuels accessible for customers

Want to help build on the success of this project or make more impact with us?

If you’d like to talk about how you can create similar impact, please contact Ian Derbyshire or Onyango Rachael.

Notes for Editors 

Practical Action is an international development organisation that puts ingenious ideas to work so people in poverty can change their world. 

Practical Action helps people find solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems. Challenges made worse by climate change and gender inequality. It works with communities to develop ingenious, lasting and locally owned solutions for agriculture, water and waste management, climate resilience and clean energy. And it shares what works with others, so answers that start small can grow big.  

Practical Action consists of a UK registered charity with community projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America, an independent publishing company and a technical consulting service. It combines these specialisms to multiply its impact and help shape a world that works better for everyone.