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COOKING STOVES (Rondereza): RDF INPUT

Before RDF’s intervention, mainly rural families used traditional cooking stoves that use firewood, agro residues and cow dung as fuel. These stoves have certain inherent defects: The produced smoke stays in the kitchen due to absence of vent pipe and ill ventilation, which is harmful to the health of users and their families, utensils and clothes are blackened by soot, open fire has an inherent risk of burning houses or their occupants.

A modified version of the traditional cooking stove is the improved cook stove (ICS). ICS can save up to 75% of fuel wood compared to the traditional stoves. It can be made of local materials and installed by the villagers/ users themselves. It is cheap and easy to operate, there is no need to blow the fire, it can have one or more openings for pots/pans, and there is no smoke in the kitchen.

The major impact can be seen on health and environment problem. ICS save on fuel and improve hygiene in the kitchen. Women and girl children are mainly responsible for preparing and cooking food for the whole family. ICS have and is providing direct benefits to the women and girl children by reducing the time and drudgery related to procuring firewood. ICS has now become a policy of government to be used widely by communities in rural areas.

Since the beginning of 2005, RDF took the lead and has been the major implementing institution of this national program. Not only did it implement it, but also played the facilitating role providing training and capacity building to the local population and institutions to enable them to implement ICS in their homes and institutions.

These are just some few examples because RDF through all its units in the country participates in the expansion of ICS in families. In broad, RDF found the necessity of installing ICS technology in Darfur region. The area covered by Rwanda contingent has 600,000 people. The dwellings in which they live are small and closely located to each other. These camps are located in areas whose environment is either desert or semi-desert. House holds often receive non food and food rations whose preparation requires cooking. It requires wood fuel whose scarcity in the immediate environment sends the population long distances away from the safety of their homes. This task is mainly carried out by women and children who are often without protection hence are prone to abuse. The commonest reported form of abuse is rape.

As a response, RDF trains locals in construction of improved cooking and tree planting as key requirements for the needy community in Darfur. Cooking with greater fuel efficiency has meant the women of Darfur need not venture beyond town to gather wood less frequently than before. That, in turn, has made their lives safer. These are some testimonies: “The stove has made many changes in my daily life. It has increased safety for my children. I have more spare time to do things. The problems of violence have been reduced due to fewer trips for firewood collection. I therefore thank the good people who came with this knowledge” said the Head of a house hold in Abshork camp- Elfasher town who cooks food for 12 people every day. For a woman named Zeinab in Kabkabiya, the benefits have been even more dramatic and she is spreading the news and her know how. “When collecting, I used to fear attacks as I was going four or five times a week”

Rwanda contingent hopes to expand the stove-making program to other sectors of Darfur, thereby enabling more women to better protect themselves and improve the quality of their lives.

Statistics relating to the achievements made so far will be presented in the next editions.

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