In the Kiboga district of Uganda, kitchens are changing. And these changes are not only impacting people’s health, they’re impacting the environment as well.
What's the change? The energy saving stove.
“This is my contribution to the environment protection movement,” said Robinah, a 48-year-old grandmother. “My family and I no longer have to cut trees for firewood.”
Hers is one of the households that ChildFund Uganda, with funding from ChildFund Germany, has worked with on the energy saving cooking stoves. The stoves are made out of local mixture of grass, water and mud and have revolutionalized cooking in the villages. Robinah acquired her stove in May 2008. It is a double Rocket Lorena stove, meaning the family can cook with two pots simultaneously using the same energy source, as well as eliminate the emitted smoke that constantly comes with firewood cooking.
“We get firewood from the forest and a bundle would give us two days,” said Robinah. “With the stoves, the same bundle gives us 11 days.”
The family does all its cooking on the stove. They steam food and boil water.
“My family is no longer at risk of some diseases because we now have enough energy to boil water. Every time we are steaming the food, we boil drinking water on the extra stove burner,” said Robinah.
The new stove technology also eliminates direct contact with the flames, reducing the chance of accidents. Robinah feels more secure having her 4-year old grandchild, Aaron, in the kitchen. Youths in Kiboga, like Robinah's 22-year old daughter Milly, like the stoves because they also can help generate income. Milly was unable to continue in formal school due to lack of school fees. However, Nakitembe community leaders and ChildFund identified Milly and 19 other youths in the area, to train in stove making technology.
Out of her acquired stove making skills, Milly has bought herself a mobile phone, twelve chickens and a goat. She also earns petty cash for her personal needs. She has constructed seven Lorenas and 20 shielded stoves for the village. Other orders have come from neighboring villages and districts. She spends five hours on constructing a Lorena Stove and charges between UG15,000 – UG20,000 (US$7.5 – US$10) for the job. All materials for the stove are locally available.
Now, Milly wants to make business cards to maximize her stove business potential.
“Some people used not to trust in me,” said Milly. “They used to say building a stove was more of a boy's job, until they realized that my stoves were just as good.”
To learn more about youth-made stoves in Uganda, click here and EXPLORE.