African Makers Media Needs You! – Visiting GreenChar In Kenya.

Nairobi:  New Story and New Co-Director!

Elijah & Diane filmed Tom Osborn’s investors’ tour: Ten from NYC, Seattle, and Durham, N.C.

First we met the Greenchar team and saw piles of logs made of sugar cane waste, a product called Long Burn. Then we headed off to Kibera, the biggest slum in Nairobi.


Says Luni Libes, an investor who mentors Tom since May 2015, “There is no substitute to seeing their businesses first-hand vs. seeing pictures … while sitting in downtown Seattle at the Impact Hub. “

GreenChar’s Kiosks in Kibera’s informal  community

“[Nothing] can replace physically walking through the Kibera slum, to see the kiosks where GreenChar sells its charcoal briquettes… Standing in that slum, I finally understood why there is so much philanthropy and so many NGOs here in Africa.  It is so easy to get caught up in the needs, and turn to the simple solution of giving away products and services — a solution that doesn’t scale” [and is dis-empowering].


GreenChar also trains women in financial literacy, safe cooking and sales skills to raise incomes.

Stories like Tom’s show firsthand how hard it is to “change the world,”
working to
extend lives, save trees, scale up sales and job creation
and survive as a business in a competitive space.

From Kibera we went to Alliance High School, where Tom, Brian and Ian first dreamed up  GreenChar.  Alliance boards 1,500 students and  serves 4,500+ meals per day, cooking all that food in giant kettles primarily powered by firewood, testing GreenChar’s industrial logs, Long Burn (results = 5X better).

Tom’s physics teacher told us proudly that Tom has had a huge impact on the school — he’s not sure if Tom is mostly an artist, a scientist, or a businessman. Tom senses that more people are expecting more of him now.


Kenya has lost 97% of its natural forest cover, so Alliance planted a forest for cooking fuel! They want to switch over to Long Burn, to save funds and cooking time, but  GreenChar needs equipment to scale up to meet their needs. Tom aims to sign up 20 more schools ASAP.



African Maker Media has a new Co-director!

We are thrilled to have Kenyan Peter Murimi, a friend since 2012, to join African Makers Media as Co-director. He directs and produces diverse documentaries for global broadcasters and for Clover Africa, with Jaime Doran, who has won awards for investigative documentaries aired globally by Frontline/PBS in the U.S., and in the UK for three decades.

For more information on Tom Osborne’s story and our plans for film distribution, contact us at:



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Thanks, Diane Hendrix began importing African entrepreneurs to Seattle in 2014. Special thanks to Luni Libes for valuable startup wisdom in person and online, and for sharing his photos and comments with African Makers Media.