|The need of families in rural sub-Saharan Africa to use wood for all of their cooking needs has resulted in widespread deforestation and depletion of natural resources in many of the countries where Self Help Africa is working.|
In an effort to respond to what has in many instances become a pressing environmental crisis, Self Help promotes a range of improved cooking stoves which are being made available to rural families in its project areas.
Although the stove designs differ between Malawi, Kenya, Ethiopia and Eritrea, the principal of the improved stoves is the same – they use less fuel to generate similar heat, and also burn with less smoke – creating a cleaner and healthier cooking environment in the home.
In Ethiopia, Eritrea and Malawi, the improved wood burning cookers are being produced for sale by small women's co-operatives and business groups, and are sold as an income generating enterprise for participating members.
‘In rural communities which do not have access to electricity or other sources of power to produce their meals, wood and charcoal are being used to generate heat for cooking. The improved stoves which we are promoting burn more efficiently and thus use less wood’, explains Ethiopian project manager Hailu Gebre Mariam.
In a further bid to combat the problem of deforestation, Self Help Africa also promotes the propogation of community and homestead woodlots, to ensure that rural people have future wood stocks to meet their cooking and home needs.