INBAR’s project has been supporting three East African countries on improved bamboo economic activities through different capacity building initiatives
INBAR has been conducting several bamboo capacity building training in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, the three focus countries of the Dutch-Sino-East Africa Bamboo Development Programme: Phase II.
In Ethiopia, a bamboo weaving and basket production training was conducted in the Amhara region in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Sports of the country. Bamboo craft production is a means of subsistence for many communities in Ethiopia and other countries in the global South. The training built technical capacity of the bamboo craft workers to improve their skill sets to produce good-quality products while imparting knowledge about selecting, harvesting, and processing quality bamboo culm. Simultaneously, another group of trainees received a bamboo development and processing training focused on building capacity on the manufacturing of improved quality bamboo products and sustainably bamboo harvesting.
In Kenya, the project has been focusing on the creation of bamboo bio-energy establishments that produce briquettes and household charcoal. By transitioning from cooking with firewood a sustainable value chain that promotes the economic empowerment of poor rural women has occurred, a new livelihood opportunity. Over 100 women from poor rural households were selected to supply charcoal dust, to the briquettes production unit. The unit model incorporates non-governmental organisations, the community and the private sector, which strengthens and enables safe investment opportunities. The unit is now linked with two local companies that design and manufacture stoves for briquettes production. Also, INBAR organised a bamboo shoots preparation and preservation training in Nairobi that introduced bamboo shoots as a source of food, while creating awareness to increase bamboo farming and to address issues on chronic food insecurity and poor nutrition.
In Uganda, INBAR has partnered with local actors – the National Forestry Authority and Nyabyeya Forestry College – to develop a Technical and Vocational Education and Training curriculum on bamboo processing. The major bottlenecks that the project seeks to work on, include capacity building initiatives to address challenges on bamboo preservation and treatment, seasoning of bamboo, and finishing technologies. Thus, the initiative has already been in the pipeline, and short, medium, and long-term plans have been identified to launch a diploma course program on Integrated Bamboo Technology. Availability of trained and professional manpower is key to manage and upgrade the bamboo value chains in bamboo growing countries.
In 2016 INBAR launched the Dutch-Sino-East Africa Bamboo Development Programme, a bamboo development project that aims to develop inclusive and sustainable industrial and smaller-scale bamboo value chains, resulting in improved livelihood opportunities, food security and environmental management in three countries in East Africa by leveraging the Chinese and Dutch expertise in the bamboo sector. Phase I of the project concluded in December 2019 and now phase II is ongoing despite the Covid-19 pandemic challenges.