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Breaking the cycle of poverty


Why is eco-cooking such a great idea?
November 2014

The continuing loss of trees is one of Africa’s biggest problems. Trees provide fuel, construction materials, food for humans and livestock, medicines and shelter. They also increase rainfall, reduce soil erosion and resist climate change by storing the carbon they grow.

Unfortunately over the decades use of firewood as means of cooking has affected the environment in Kenya. Decades of clearing the forest for agriculture or for sale of timber have combined with the dependence on food fuel to adversely affect the environment, especially in western Kenya. The environmental impacts are also serious. The felling of natural forests causes entire regions to become eroded and turn into deserts. Fuel becomes scarce, causing household expenditure to rise. In many families women and young girls have to spend a great deal of their time collecting wood for fuel.

Felling for fuel is the biggest cause of tree loss, but in an area where all other fuels are unaffordable, people have no choice. Most people cook with a traditional ‘3 stone stove’ where the pot balances on three stones with the burning wood. This is very inefficient as most of the heat escapes around the side. They are also very smoky. The WHO estimates that up to 3 million people die each year prematurely from wood smoke inhalation. Our aim is to help people to use wood fuel more efficiently so they don’t need to cut down as many trees.

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