Women in rural communities have to walk increasingly long distances to look for firewood. This is a tedious, time-consuming burden for women and girls and detracts from time spent in girls going to school and women participating in activities that will generate income. From an environmental perspective, the use of large amounts of firewood for cooking has contributed to problems of deforestation leading to soil erosion and land degradation -- undermining agricultural efforts to produce food.
|Learning how to construct energy-saving stoves|
Back when CPAR Tz first started working in Karatu District, we learned that various models of energy saving stoves had been introduced but none had been widely adopted. We wanted to promote energy saving stoves because they use about one-third the firewood of the three-stone fireplace, so we decided to consult with rural women to find out why the stoves weren’t popular.The women complained that they couldn’t roast maize, the stoves didn’t produce enough light and the intensity of the heat tended to destroy their pots. Furthermore, they were expensive to construct because they used cement and burnt bricks. And, the women objected to the use of chimneys because, as they pointed out, a little smoke is a good thing to keep snakes and scorpions out of your house.
CPAR Tz shared this information with women from the Arusha-based Centre for Agricultural Mechanization and Rural Technology (CAMARTEC) who had already worked to design an energy saving stove that addressed women’s concerns. In addition, they had taken “kitchen management” to a whole new level by tackling women’s comfort and efficiency in the kitchen.
|Testing the soil|
|Mixing the goop|
|Using wood and paint containers|
The tools required to construct the stoves are a knife or machete, a bucket, two pots or paint tins of 5 liter capacity and a piece of flat wood for compacting the soil. With the exception of the paint tins and flat wood, all are readily available at the household level. The paint tins and flat wood can be procured for about $2 and then continuously recycled to other households. All the necessary measurements are calculated using one’s hands.
As part of the “kitchen management” training, women learn to keep the kitchen clean, arrange kitchen items conveniently, maintain the stove, store firewood properly, keep cooking utensils covered and sprinkle the earth floors with a bit of water before sweeping to minimize the dust. They learn energy saving tips such as reducing the firewood once the food has come to a boil, covering the pot with a lid whenever possible, avoiding overcooking, soaking raw foods such as maize and beans before cooking, chopping certain foods into small sizes before cooking, using dried wood for less smoke and better use of energy, and preparing everything first before lighting the stove.
Traditional Iraqw houses don’t have windows so cooking over the three-stone fire fills the house with smoke. The Mkombozi stoves are constructed, at women’s request, in place of their three-stone fires. It’s easy to see on the mud wall exactly where the smoke hits so, keeping in mind that some smoke in the house is desirable, the women are encouraged to put in a small window so that a lot of the smoke can escape.
|Demonstration -- although this pot should ideally be covered...|
|Cooking stew and roasting maize|