The village of Saga, located south of Niamey on the banks of the Niger River, was the initial setting for an innovative experiment in converting a troublesome invasive species in the river basin into an economic opportunity for the local community. Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) has clogged local irrigation systems, limited navigability of the river, restricted access to local markets, and decreased the viability of the local economy, as well as severely impacting ecosystem health and water quality.
École Instrument de Paix has mobilized community members to collect water hyacinth from the river, before drying the plant material for use in a number of income-generating activities. The organization has been particularly successful at promoting local production of fuel briquettes, which are made of both dried water hyacinth and agricultural waste. These briquettes help to generate income through their sale and improve energy access for marginalized riverbank communities.