Many African families rely on women to care for them and to provide basic necessities for survival. As African women receive education and are recognized with a higher legal status, they provide their households with superior nutrition, stronger food security and increased access to health care. Despite the crucial investments women make in their families and the contributions they make to their communities, they still suffer silently in the background.
The residents of Wayani, a small village in Maungu location in Taita Taveta County know Phyllis Magana as the go to person for advice on many matters ranging from spirituality to family life to environmental conservation to matters agriculture. Phyllis describes herself first as a mother then a clergy of the Anglican Church of Kenya and an agricultural officer with the Ministry of Agriculture. She admits that it is quite a task balancing all those roles.
Up at the crack of dawn, she prepares her family of four for the day, “The woman is the life of a home” she explains as she carries a small pile of firewood from the shed to her kitchen “The woman of the house is the manager of everyone living under her roof.” She continues.
Everyone in Phyllis’ household has already left for their daily activities and chores but she insists on making fresh tea for her guest. Her kitchen is warm and homely and soon, a pot of tea is boiling. She explains why she has insisted on making fresh tea; to show off her Carbon Zero energy efficient stove and share why she is so proud of it.
“This stove is efficient and saves me time, money and effort.” She further compares it with the paraffin and three stone traditional stoves she used to use earlier before getting an energy efficient stove from Carbon Zero. Firewood is a big problem here. With more families settling in the area plus the clearing of forests for farming sources of firewood are limited and the environment gets overly strained to cater for the communities energy needs. She used to buy firewood as she had no place to fetch enough for her family’s needs with dwindled forests. Also the traditional stove used a lot of firewood and produced a lot of smoke the complete opposite of her CZK stove. When the stoves were being introduced to the village, she immediately saw the advantage and had one built for her family. Not one to benefit alone, she advocated to the village during a chief’s baraza to dispel from them all hesitation and mistrust that comes with the introduction of any new things. The money she used to use in the procurement of firewood and kerosene was channeled to her chicken project which she uses to buy feed for them. The best thing is the smoke free environment her kitchen has become. “No more sore throats and puffed up red eyes from crying from the plumes of smoke produced by firewood,” she says.
Phyllis indicates that now she has more time to pursue her chicken farming venture which earns her livelihood while also getting time to regularly hold counseling sessions for parishioners and also empower local farmers. She says…. “My CZK simply liberated my life, the time I used to spend looking for firewood now I can do other things and this is good for any woman.”
“It may seem inconsequential but something as simple as a jiko that dignifies the kitchen has brought real positive change,” she continues “when you uplift a woman you uplift the whole community and for that we thank Carbon Zero a lot”