In rural areas of Cameroon 98% of the population are using solid fuel (wood/ charcoal) for cooking. The cooking culture involves large, heavy, cast pots, holding food for several people for a day. So far the most common way to supply enough heat to such a pot is a three-stone fire. This not only uses large amounts of firewood, it also causes heavy smoke pollution in kitchens which in turn cause health issues for women.
We believe that women can take charge of changing their kitchens by learning how to build their own “rocket” cook stoves. An adapted design, simple materials and a teaching workshop can enable a group of women to build stoves together.
Empowering women to change their lives
We are working together with builder Elke Cole to organize training for trainers, workshops for women groups in Bafut villages and to set up a social business to build stoves in Cameroon.
A workshop can teach 12-15 women to build stoves in one day. Group members will then be expected to continue building stoves for each other until all members have their own. In a follow-up visit further instructions are given regarding finishing and operating stoves.
Training women as trainers for local sustainability
We select and invite individuals from each workshop to help facilitate other groups and become part of a trainers network. Teaching skills, workshop organization and small business development are planned topics of a follow-up training.
Social business venture
A social business under BetterCoop will design, build and repair custom stoves. As social business this will support further workshops.
Why build stoves with women?
- We offer a solution that uses local materials only and is in the hands of those who use it: the women!
- Women will have more time available for business or community activities, because less time is spent gathering firewood and cooking.
- When women earn money they invest in the family: school fees, health and welfare
- Opportunities for creating businesses
- Improving the Environment: less pollution through clean burning
- Saving forests through reducing firewood consumption by 60-70%
- Smoke free kitchens: better health for women and children
- Fire safety: fire is inside the stove, away from clothing and reach
- Affordability: All local (low-cost/ free) materials
- Women know their stove and can make improvements and repairs.
- Skills are transferable and can also be used to make home improvements
We see the possibility to take this idea into other regions and countries and are open to your inquiries. Please contact Elke .
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The following is a short explanation in Pidgin about benefits of the stove: