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City Slum Residents Cash In On Charcoal Briquettes to Earn Decent Livelihood

Beneath the succession of brown rusty rooftops in Kibera slums, home to hundreds of thousands of Nairobi city residents, women voices pierce the air. From a distance, one can hear occasional laughter, snatches of conversation, labored breathing, and hasty movements of people at work. A closer look reveals a group of about six women. Some are bending while others are down on their knees, with all hands rigorously making dough out of some black solid mass. “This is a mixture of charcoal dust, soil and water. We want to bind it and make charcoal briquettes,” says Felistas Asiko, a mother of four, who like the others surrounding her, earns a living from selling the fuel.