Eritreans have a new name for cookstoves: the ‘Saviour stove’

Desey Tsehaye and her grandson with their brand new ‘Saviour’ cookstove, complete with smoke funnel.

Desey is a 47-year-old grandmother who lives out in the Eritrean desert, south of the capital city Asmara. It is a forbidding landscape of rock and mountain, which has been almost completely deforested.

Desey and her family were forced to buy firewood everyday, simply to cook and feed herself and her family, spending a lot of money in the process. The traditional stove also produced a lot of smoke, causing eye problems and headaches from the fumes.

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Local women helping to construct the stoves.

Then an improved cook stove was installed in her house through Vita and CO2balance’s fuel efficient cook stove project. The stove used much less firewood, saving the women and girls time, money and drudgery collecting firewood.

As such, they have taken to calling it the ‘Saviour stove’ (Adhenet in the Tigrinya local language).

Despite this success however, when Desey was invited to participate in the project she was initially reluctant: When I was invited to have a stove my mother had just died and I told Vita that I was grieving and not in the frame of mind to have this new kind of stove.”

But thankfully she came round: “They offered to construct it for me. Once it was built I really blessed them. Now I see that this stove is a precious item that everyone should have. I’m telling all my friends and neighbours about the benefits of it of this stove.”

Now she has no need to need to buy firewood – twigs and leaves are enough fuel for her improved stove. Her family has saved money, which they spend on a buying a wider variety of food for their family and making improvements to their home. Their former smoke problems are also a thing of the past, as the improved cook stove uses a handy chimney so there is no smoke indoors.

 

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Local women enjoying their training in stove maintenance.

CO2balance and Vita worked closely with the local women’s association in the village to engage women in the project and train them in stove maintenance.

This has proved very successful and helped build grassroots support and interest in the Saviour stoves, ensuring that they remain in good condition and reap the rewards for many years to come.

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Introducing myself

Hi everyone,

I’m Oscar, the new Carbon Projects Officer joining the CO2balance team here in sunny Taunton. I’m told this is a tradition, so allow me to introduce myself.

I’ve always loved the natural world, so initially went down the path of science, studying for a Masters in Applied Ecology at Imperial College London. Yet it was here that I discovered the SDGs and their potential for the world, and discovered a newfound passion for international development.

I joined the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN in Rome, where I had the privilege of carbon auditing large-scale agricultural projects in Mozambique and Vietnam.

Seeking the rural life, I then ran off to the mountains of Nepal to live and work in a remote village with a charity for four months, learning the value of small-scale projects to improving people’s lives.

I must say, I’m truly impressed by all that CO2balance has achieved. The fact that the company is growing so rapidly is testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone, the team past and present. So I’m delighted to be joining at this exciting time and be able to contribute to this growth, be it through projects in climate-smart agriculture (my specialism at the FAO) or traversing new lands in Africa and Asia.

Outside of work, I’m usually found rock climbing, surfing, playing tai chi, eating cake or learning something new – I describe myself as a philomath (a lover of learning) and hunter-gatherer of interestingness, so am never far from an interesting book or lecture.

Thank you to everyone for such a warm welcome. I can’t wait to get stuck in.

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Overlooking the historic Patan Durbar Square, Kathmandu, Nepal.