Using improved Cook Stoves to promote climate change adaptation

Maria-Goretti Kyomukama (below in the left hand corner) shows her cook stove, which is also shown at the top of the right hand corner with her firewood rack above. The firewood is able to take her for a week or more now. In the upper left and the lower right hand corners are the school cook stoves which have reduced firewood consumption too. (Photo Credit: UNDP Uganda 2015)

Maria-Goretti Kyomukama loves her new cook stove.

It is an energy saving cook stove which uses less firewood and doesn’t leave her kitchen filled with smoke, thanks to an inbuilt chimney.

Key Highlights

  • Through the SERNCAM Project, UNDP has been promoting the use of new improved cook stoves, both at household and institutional levels.
  • New improved energy saving cook stoves use less firewood leading to reduced cutting down of trees in rural Uganda.
  • Construction of these new cook stoves also ensures that there is less smoke emitted hence preventing smoke related diseases later on in life.

The stove is made using clay and mud which are locally sourced materials that Kyomukama was able to get at little cost. The new stove also uses less firewood, hence few trips going out in the forests and bushes to find firewood.

“In the past we had three cooking stones which needed about 6 big pieces of firewood every week. Now I use half of that in a week, since one piece of firewood can go for a day or two depending on what I cook. This is because the stove also conserves heat, so I don’t need the wood in all the time,” Kyomukama said.

Kyomukama was introduced to the stoves by the Community Volunteer Initiative for Development (COVOID), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Rubirizi district which is supporting groups that are focused on climate change adaptation among other things.

The NGO which got a small grant from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s SENCARM Project invested it in training different groups in making improved cook stoves which use less firewood and also encouraged them to plant trees.

The Strengthening Sustainable Environment, Natural Resources Management, Climate change Adaptation and Mitigation (SENRMCAM)  project focuses on supporting the efforts and capacities of local governments, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and communities to sustainably manage and utilise natural resources, integrate climate change adaptation and mitigation in their activities so as to build climate change resilient societies. It is crucial for reducing widespread poverty and improving livelihoods especially for the poorest and vulnerable sections of society who depend on natural resource ecosystems.

This is being done through developing, piloting and implementing initiatives in biodiversity and ecosystem management, sustainable land management, efficient energy technologies and reduction in Green House Gas emissions. The project is being implemented by World Wide Fund for Nature Uganda in collaboration various ministries, local governments and CSOs.

“We trained 12 women in making improved cook stoves, one of whom was Kyomukama, so far these women have constructed 98 cook stoves in various households in the community,” Ben Bataringaya, COVOID’s director said.

Kyomukama says that the training has improved her life, not only because of her new improved cook stove but also because she is able to train others and construct for those who prefer that, making a little money on the side. “They pay me ten thousand shillings if I do the construction of the stove for them.” She adds.  The money helps the mother of five support her family.

In Kasese district next door, the improved cook stoves have changed the fortunes of two schools. Kisinga Vocational School got support from UNDP through the Friends of Nature NGO to construct their cook stove.

The school which was about two million Uganda shillings per school term to get firewood to cook meals for their 800 students has now reduced the cost by half with the new cook stove.

“In the past meals were rarely ever on time but this new cook stove has helped us with time management at meal times. Which means that students are not delayed waiting for meals and going late for classes, “Josephat Kimekeke, the school’s deputy headmaster says.

Not far away from Kisinga is Munkhunyu Secondary School, whose deputy headmaster Kule Longino agrees that meals are ready much faster with the new cook stove.

He says that the new cook stove conserves heat, cooking is done early and the food is kept warm for their 937 students.

The schools got small grants of 2.5 million Uganda shillings through the Friends of Nature NGO and contributed five hundred thousand shillings to construct the stoves which are now saving them both money and time.

New improved cook stoves have become an important part of climate change adaptation helping communities reduce the amount of firewood they use and saving more trees in different communities across Uganda.

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