Brian Raab via Crowdrise
May 21, 2011
The Current Problem:
In rural Kenya,women typically cook every meal over an open fire. This is difficult work that requires hours of collecting wood, subjects them and their children to severe health risks and can drain a family economically and a community environmentally.
Often, girls are required to begin helping their mothers gather wood and cook at a very early age. And sometimes this can deprive them of schooling and/or adequate study time. While their brothers study, they are out with their mothers working to prepare the meal.
Because of the time required for the collecting wood and preparing meals, women are often denied the opportunity to participate in more nurturing activities with the family or in gainful employment.
To a large extent,"stoves" in Kenya are really just an open fire with 3 large stones spaced to accommodate a large pot on top of them. This uncontained fire wastes most of the energy it produces and represents a potential hazard for hut fires and severe burns. On average, throughout the day, the air quality in a Kenyan hut is more than ten times worse than the EPA recommended levels for American households.
Many rural Kenyan women walk 5 to 6 km to get to an adequate source of fuel wood and then carry a bundle of wood weighing 40+ pounds back to their village using rope as a sling. If you can imagine, that is like walking a 10K with your 6 year old child on your back for the second half of it.
The Upside of Positive Change
- Fewer hours spent acquiring wood – by cutting wood collection requirements in half, women have more time available for child care or other family-oriented activities
- Less money spent on fuel wood means more is available for the necessities of the household
- More available productive time - for gardening, livestock and/or in gainful employment activities
- Significantly reduced risk of respiratory disease for them and their children. Efficient stoves burn wood more effectively. They burn hotter and combust fuel more efficiently while producing less toxic smoke.
Change a Life
Change a life, a family, a community, one stove at a time
- In order to change the customs in Kenya, we must empower women with both the means to address their immediate needs and to build long-term solutions for the future.
- The KDA/ BioEarth Clean Cook Stoves Project is designed to do just that. It addresses short-term needs while creating a revenue stream, which continues to fund the project on an ongoing basis. Donors and other funders get the ball rolling, but the people involved in the project to keep the ball rollong, and in the process become more self-sufficient each day.
- Change requires two components that this project delivers: Technology and Education. Fuel efficient stoves provide technology to reduce fuel wood (tree) consumption by half and in doing so, provide immediate life-improving benefits to women and their families. Education is the second vital aspect of change, as it conveys the importance of natural resource management through understanding that if people continue to consume trees at rates faster than can be replenished, soon there will be no more trees, fuel wood, and timber. With that loss, no more of the many vital contributions trees provide to subsistence farmers.
- The solution for Kenyan women is not simply financial aid, but opportunity to make a better tomorrow for their families. By understanding, natural resources are tangible assets and by using technology that can preserve those assets, women have a unique opportunity to better manage those assets in their community in several advantageous ways. In so doing, they and their families can flourish.