PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT THROUGH ENERGY SAVING STOVES
Louise is a 30-year-old refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo who was settled in Kyaka II refugee settlement. Back home in the DRC, she was a peasant farmer who was dependent on agriculture to feed her family. Louise fled with her husband due to the rise of conflict and insecurity in her community. “I heard a lot of women being raped and sometimes murdered in their gardens; it became too much and I decided to leave with my husband,” she said.
“I was approached by some refugees who told me that they wanted to build for me an energy-saving stove where I did not have to use a lot of firewood to prepare my food. I accepted and two trainers came to my home and together, we constructed the stove,” she said.
Using soil, couch grass and water, Louise and the two trainers constructed a stove at the outside of her house. “I love this stove because even without firewood or charcoal, I can use plant husks and my food gets ready in time,” Louise added.
The multipurpose nature of the stove is an added advantage noted by Benitah, a refugee woman who had just completed constructing a stove at her home. “Having both parts that use wood and charcoal is very exciting. I cannot wait to start using it,” she said.
Earning an extra income
With funding from the Belgian Development Cooperation (DGD), Oxfam identified 20 refugees and trained them in making energy-saving stoves. The trainers of trainees are refugees that also fled the conflicts in the DRC and settled in Uganda.
"I was informed by a friend that Oxfam was registering refugees to be trained in making energy saving stoves and I thought it would be a good idea to learn a new skill,” Kanyere, a trainer of trainees said. She added, “With the energy-saving stove, I am able to cook with less firewood; which helps to save the environment.”
The trainers of trainees move within Kaborogota zone in Kyaka II refugee settlement, teaching fellow refugees not only the advantages of the energy-saving stoves but also how to construct them.
“I am very glad that I was able to learn how to make these stoves because people in other areas of the settlement can now invite me to construct the stoves for them and through this, I am able to earn some money,” Olivier, a trainer of trainees said.
So far, over 480 households out of the targeted 1,400 households have been trained in making the energy-saving stoves, and they are in use. More and more members of the community are embracing the use of the energy-saving stoves and with more funding, the training can be scaled up to cover Kyaka II settlement.