Now aged 25, Otula is CEO of Vuma Biofuels and is in discussions with the UN Refugee Agency the UNHCR to extend the use of sugar-cane biomass energy to refugees in Kenya.
There are about 500,000 refugee households in Kenya, mainly from Somalia and South Sudan, making the country Africa’s second-largest refugee host. A solution is needed quickly, as refugees are mostly using smuggled wood and charcoal for heating, says Otula.
Discussions with the UNHCR are still in their early stages. Otula says he hopes that adoption of the product for refugees can be the springboard for the company to target the household market, which he aims to do in three to four years.
In September 2019, the company, co-founded by Otula and chairman Aaron Pattillo, opened a production facility and headquarters in Migori County in western Kenya, near Sony Sugar Company, the country’s third-largest sugar miller.
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