We have recently installed fuel-efficient wood-burning cookstoves for the 70 members of one women’s group. In all cases, these stoves replaced traditional “three-stone” set-ups in which food was cooked over an open fire, usually in a single pot balanced on the stones, in a small shed.
This approach exposes the cook and often her young children to significant levels of carbon monoxide, particulates, and various toxins in the smoke, with a wide range of health impacts.
The made-in-Kenya stove with an insulated firebox, a tight-closing door, and a vent to a chimney are known as jikos.
The new stoves use less than one-quarter of the wood required for an open fire in a three-stone stove, reducing the need to go out and forage for wood or spend scarce family income on fuel. The reduced amount of fuel also reduces the amount of smoke produced, reducing overall pollution.
Because the smoke goes outside through the chimney, smoke exposure is dramatically reduced for the woman and her smaller children, who often are with her in the cook shed, particularly during the rainy season.
This makes a major contribution to health, as the reduction in indoor air pollution improves respiratory health – especially critical during this pandemic – as well as eye health. The design of the stove enables two or three pots to be used at once, promoting dietary diversity.
The cost of each installed stove, with chimney, is CAD$250.
Farmers Helping Farmers thanks the Charlottetown Rotary Club and Global Affairs Canada for their support of this project.