In his third year of University, Cecil Chikezie found out that the Kenyan government issued a nationwide ban on charcoal. This heavily affected Cecil’s family as they were very reliant on the material for basic day-to-day use. Charcoal prices spiked and Cecil was inspired to search for more sustainable and cheaper fuel alternatives.
He discovered that fuel briquettes made from carbonized agricultural refuse were a feasible fuel alternative, but they were not easily accessible in the market. This was how his company Eco Makaa came about. Eco Makaa is an e-commerce company that connects local fuel briquette producers to a client base. These briquettes are aggregated at one point and supplied by the company to clients who mainly order through the e-commerce website. Instead of the company owning any machines or premises for production, it brings together community members who already own these assets, ensuring a steady income by fostering community collaboration in the large and steady supply of quality briquettes to trusting clients.
The eco-friendly Eco Makaa briquettes are made out of carbonized agricultural waste, such as sugarcane bagasse, as well as discarded charcoal dust. Since their launch in April 2018, the company has sold 9 tonnes of eco-friendly briquettes through e-commerce, and, as a result, have saved about 75 trees that would have been cut down to produce charcoal.
Nairobi’s five-star hotels such as Sankara and Intercontinental Hotel are amongst some of their clientele.