The Halcrow Foundation supported the construction of fuel-efficient indoor mud stoves for villagers in Tanzania, as part of Sunseed Tanzania Trust’s (STT) Domestic Energy Programme. As well as dramatically improving the health of families, the programme has significantly reduced the amount of firewood needed to cook food. This has far-reaching consequences as village women are often sexually assaulted as they forage for firewood.
Working with three villages in the semi-arid Dodoma province, central Tanzania, STT aims to promote the use of, and help to build, sustainable mud stoves. Currently, local women cook on open fires inside their huts. As well as being highly inefficient and requiring large quantities of fuel, the indoor fires spew out smoke which can lead to eye and respiratory conditions, and are prone to spillages, causing burns.
Harvesting wood for fuel has led to chronic deforestation in the region, with 92% of residents relying on vulnerable forests for survival.
Insulated mud stoves are constructed from locally-sourced, sustainable materials and have already drastically reduced the fuel requirements for cooking. The villages now need to collect less wood, meaning fewer trips carrying heavy loads, and less exposure to the risks of potential animal or sexual attacks. This has freed up time for schooling and income-generating activities. External chimneys direct smoke out of the cooking area, promoting better health. With the foundation’s backing, STT has trained selected villagers as stove builders, provided support to invest the money they earn from this work, and monitored stove quality and performance to resolve any problems that may arise.