One of the tricky questions in addressing drivers of forest degradation in Tanzania is how to deal with growing fuelwood demands especially in local settings where 100% of the population depends on firewood and charcoal for cooking. To address this challenge, EAMCEF provided grants to a local NGO to implement a woman-empowerment project that would cut down firewood consumption but with multiple benefits to the women group.
In Mbakweni Village
– one of the villages bordering Chome Forest Nature Reserve, the project trained a women group – called Mkombozi to construct improved cook stoves that would not only replace the traditional three-stones stove, but also reduce by 50% the amount of firewood consumption and reduce health risks associated with smoke. To date, the group has trained other women and constructed 406 improved stoves in different households.
My husband is so happy to see me using Mkombozi stoves [improved cook stoves], he feels comfortable joiningme in the kitchen, this was never the case!
I was incurring a weekly cost of TZS. 10,000 for firewood, but now with the new stove I spend only TZS. 4,000 for firewood per week. I use the savings to improve the family diet.
We were exposed to very high health risk as our old cook stoves produced too much smoke, our eyes and hearts were suffering. The stoves made our kitchen so dirty and unattractive. My family used to spend between 24-32 hours a week fetching firewood, such that we were not able to do other activities when back from the forests. We managed to cut more than 50% of firewood consumption using the new stove, cooking is easy, clean, safe and takes much shorter time.