Fuel-Efficient Cook Stoves in East Africa
Home is where the hearth is. Yet, in Africa, that hearth is having a detrimental effect on women’s health, quality of life, time, and independence – not to mention the health of their young families. Traditional cooking methods in Africa are inefficient, dangerous, and harmful to the environment. Vita’s fuel-efficient cook stove programme provides women with improved stoves that improve health, save time, trees, and money. Good for health, the pocket, female empowerment, and the environment, these stoves are changing lives for the better.
One of the major environmental challenges in our partner countries is the use of biomass-burning stoves since most rural households are heavily reliant on firewood for their energy needs. As a result, Vita provides fuel-efficient stoves, which require less fuel and produce fewer emissions.
A community-based approach is used to train women on how to construct, maintain and repair the stoves, ensuring that future generations will also benefit from them.
These stoves use 50% less timber, so less time is spent gathering firewood, a task traditionally carried out by children and women that takes a family up to 20 hours a week. The new stoves also emit less smoke and have resulted in a major reduction in eye and respiratory diseases. Finally, on a global level, the stoves reduce CO2 emissions, thereby mitigating against climate change.
To date, over 50,000 stoves have been constructed with the help of Vita and its local partners. They have directly impacted on the lives of more than 200,000 people, saving thousands of tonnes of CO2 emission.
Scientific studies have shown that an improved stove will save about three tonnes of CO2 emissions every year by reducing the amount of timber burned.
This saving is eligible to be sold on the Voluntary Carbon Market which in turn will provide more capital for more stoves, creating a chain reaction. Vita, together with local partners in Eritrea, is assisting the Eritrean Ministry of Energy to develop this programme.
Many people now recognise that they need to act responsibly with regard to the effects that they have on global warming. They are trying to reduce their impact on climate change by making changes in their work practices and lifestyle but they are also are looking to act responsibly by offsetting their carbon emissions. If you would like to learn more about measuring and offsetting your carbon footprint through our improved stove projects, visit our unique, not-for-profit carbon calculator here.
A Cleaner, Safer Cookstove has Transformed Hundene’s Life – and Improved her Injera!
In Mirab Abaya, in the village of Molle, Hundene Huka is one woman whose life has been transformed by Irish Aid and Vita’s fuel-efficient cookstove programme. With four children, she, like most women in her community, used to use the traditional way of cooking to feed her family. “I used three stones cook stove to cook for my family. It was extremely harmful to me and my children, ” she said.
Ejigayehu Shelin is a busy mother of five. In 2019, Ejigayehu became one of twelve women to join Vita’s fuel-efficient cook stove cooperative. Vita has developed improved stoves that have an enclosed flame that make them significantly safer and more fuel-efficient, reducing firewood consumption by 50%. However, the true impact for Ejigayehu has been becoming a member of Vita’s Woyra Shara Women Fuel-Efficient Cook Stove Producer Cooperative.
Fuel-Efficient Cookstoves – transforming communities and benefiting women in Eritrea
The traditional stove in Eritrea is called the ‘mogogo’ and, like most homes around the world, forms the central focus point of family life. Here is where women – like Tekea and Desey – spend a significant part of their day, preparing meals, heating water, and feeding the voracious open flame an endless supply of wood gathered from the ever-sparser countryside.
Meselech Meriya’s Story: How one Small Change has made a Monumental Difference
Before joining Vita’s fuel-efficient cookstove programme, Meselech Mergiya used three stones surrounding an open fire on the ground to boil, cook, and prepare her family’s meals. This method was incredibly dangerous, as the open flame often caused burns, as well as eye and respiratory illnesses due to the noxious smoke the fire produced.
Before joining Vita’s improved cookstove project, Alemitu was using the traditional three stone stoves cooking for meal preparation and heat.She usually collected this firewood from a local forest, thus contributing to deforestation. This daily task would see Alemitu spending more than half a day, undertaking a four hour journey, to collect her firewood.