Cooking up smart ideas

Cool Earth has been revolutionising energy in our Lubutu partnership in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

One of the biggest causes of forest degradation here is due to fuel wood collected and used for traditional stoves. As well as using a lot of wood, these stoves are extremely harmful to health, particularly for women and children. When we spoke to the community about their concerns for the future, it was one of the highest things on the list.

To address these issues, we’ve funded the community to research, trial and build energy efficient stoves that use far less fuel and are much less harmful to health. They’re simple to make and have a smart design that cooks quicker and funnels any smoke out of the house.

The programme has been a huge success, with nearly 300 stoves now built. The women are really happy about not having to spend so much time cleaning the soot off their pans which also means saving soap, an expensive commodity in Lubutu.

Beatrice’s New Stove from Cool Earth on Vimeo.

The impact

The new stoves have three major benefits. Firstly, there’s a significant reduction in degradation of the forest from fuel wood collection. Secondly, there are huge health improvements, especially for women and children, due to cleaner air in the home. And finally, there’s more time for women to spend on income generation, education and family support due to quicker cooking time, and less time needed to collect fuel and clean pans.

Next steps

The programme has proved extremely popular. The communities and the local implementers have become experts at building the stoves and training women in using them. A further 500 families would like to join the scheme and build an energy efficient stove, meaning we’ll have reached around 800 households by the end of next year.

 

Sometimes it’s the simplest things that have the most positive impacts for both families and the forest.

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