According to a study by the Makala project in 2011, Kinshasa consumes 490,000t of charcoal per year; 300,000 people are involved in the activity of wood energy; and the product market value was US$ 163 million. Despite the turnover, the sector is largely informal and operates in unsustainable manners - causing deforestation and increasing effects from climate change.
In order to reduce poverty in line with the guidelines of the National Poverty Reduction Strategy, the MDGs, the national REDD strategy and the Sustainable Energy for All strategy, supported by the DRC government, SNV developed and implemented a 'Sustainable coal' project. This project aimed to develop a commercially viable and sustainable coal industry in the suburban area of Kinshasa, in order to improve access to sustainable coal and to improve the incomes and living conditions of people from poor neighborhoods in Kinshasa.
The project was characterized by a multi-stakeholder approach that focusessed on the private sector, good governance, poverty reduction and gender equity. During the two-year pilot phase (2014-2015), the project aimed to:
- Create a standard for sustainable support to coal and coal to fulfill the requirements;
- Create a distribution network and ensure promotion of sustainable coal in Kinshasa;
- Contribute to the formalization and regulation of the energy sector and wood by creating an enabling framework for the sector.
At the end of 2015, more than 300 farmers now have a better income and 3500 people have regular access to improved charcoal, due to SNV's efforts.