energy-efficient cook-stoves in Kenya
Energy-Efficient cooking-stoves in Kenya
Damage to health and deforestation in Kenya
The district of Kitui is located in the east of Nairobi. The vast majority cooks on the traditional three-stone stoves. These open fireplaces are harmful to health: an alarmingly high number of people in Kitui suffer from respiratory diseases and especially children suffer from severe burns. However, the open fireplaces also harm the environment: the very high consumption of firewood leads to deforestation. This leads to a lack of nutrients, a reduced soil fertility and fewer crops. This means a direct threat to the livelihoods of local families. In addition, high firewood consumption leads to a high workload, especially for women and children. Meanwhile, the forest cover in Kenya has shrunk to 1.7% of the total area. Caritas Kitui, partner organization of the Swiss relief organization Fastenopfer, would like to counteract this and make an additional contribution to emission reduction and climate protection. In the first project cycle from 2013 to 2020, Caritas Kitui installs at least 14,000 energy-efficient cooking stoves.
Advantages of the energy-efficient cooking stoves
By cooking on the wood-saving stoves, the participating families in Kitui save CO2 emissions and halve their wood consumption. This counteracts deforestation, reduces the effort required to find firewood and allows women to dedicate the newly gained time to their children or to cultivate nearby fields together with their families. There are less harmful soot particles and people benefit from improved air quality in their homes. This reduces the risk of respiratory diseases and fire accidents. Nevertheless, the permanently installed cookers also benefit the household budget. Families save an average of USD 35 per year for firewood.
Small farmer Agnes Gathigia from the village of Thegu confirms, "The new stove requires significantly less firewood and I therefore have fewer expenses. The stove is safer, radiates a pleasant warmth and the biting smoke is gone".
Jobs for the local population
Another positive effect is the jobs created by the construction and maintenance of the new cooking facilities. In the rural areas of Kitui, Caritas Kitui trains artisans in the construction and maintenance of energy-efficient cooking stoves. These are mostly made of local materials, such as locally fired bricks, sand and gravel.
During the 7 years of the project, the energy efficient cookers will save a total of 60.000 tons of CO2.
Fastenopfer is the Aid Organization of the Catholic Church in Switzerland. The organization is especially dedicated to the service of the less privileged in the society, with works towards a more just, hunger and poverty free world. The programs and projects of the organization in developing countries are geared towards long term partnership such as the one in Kenyas Kitui County.