I love coming across stories about individuals making a difference in the world; it shows that one person can really make a difference – not just the rich and famous, but the unknown and unsung heroes that have a vision, and do what they can with what they have until they have more to see their vision unfold.
Alhaji Siraj Bah is such a person: a young Sierra Leonean, he lost his adoptive family to a mudslide when he was 17. The mudslides are an increasing problem, as 70% of the Sierra Leonean forests have been chopped down for firewood; most families use small wood-burning cookers. But something else that everyone does is eat coconuts. Every day, tons of coconut husks are emptied in the street markets, and the sellers then have to pay to remove their biowaste. Alhaji worked on and found a solution to both problems: Turning the biowaste into biofuel briquettes – coconut coal which gives off less smoke and burns four times more efficiently than wood-based products. This idea is not original – there are many similar products on the market; but what I like about his story is that he refused to give up, looking for a solution to local problems, providing jobs, a free removal service, and offering a locally-grown waste-turned-fuel.
To see an interesting video from Business Insider on his story, just click here.