From lectures to lighting up the Gambia with clean energy – meet green entrepreneur Sulayman Darboe

Most people in Sulayman Darboe’s position would be considering a comfortable office job with all the security that goes along with it. However, the 26-year-old Gambian has never been one to follow the crowd. The first one of his family to go to university, he has his sights set on far loftier ambitions – playing a role in improving the air quality, health and opportunities in rural communities by providing a greener alternative to burning firewood for cooking.

As a young boy, he saw first-hand the impact of using wood for fuel on the women and children in the village where he grew up. Health conditions related to breathing in smoke, such as heart conditions, were common while children missed out on time to do homework because they were busy collecting firewood – not to mention the environmental impact of cutting down trees.

Today, that experience is fuelling the growth of his green business, providing a sustainable, healthier alternative to burning wood by turning coconut husks and peanut shells, which would usually be shipped to other countries as waste, into briquettes that can be burned for cooking.