Help to lighten her load
Dear Friends of Tlamacazapa and Atzin,
The sheer amount of firewood carried out of the forest each week came as a surprise. We already knew that gathering firewood for cooking was heavy, constant work, carried out by both men and women, but when we dug deeper into cooking and fuel consumption, our findings were staggering.
In 2017-19 with financing from Rotary Club Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada), Atzin distributed ecological rocket stoves to 300 families trapped in acute poverty and cooking over an open, three-rock fire.Ecological rocket stoves use up to 60% less fuel and emit up to 70% less smoke when compared to cooking over an open fire, thereby reducing consumption of natural resources and toxic smoke inhalation as well as allowing faster cooking time and using just small sticks for fuel. The proper use of a rocket stove frees up considerable time for family members, especially for women cooks - time that can then be spent on other activities.
To better understand the adoption of the stoves, two young village women interviewed each female household head twice (pre- and post-stove) about family size, cooking practices, and time and quantity of firewood required. This information was then organized into tables and analyzed.
Findings. Of the 300 households (HH) on the pre-stove interview,
- 223 HHs (74%) invested time and effort to gather firewood, and did not purchase firewood.
- 40 HHs (13%) gathered firewood and also purchased supplementary firewood.
- 37 HHs (12%) always purchased their wood and did not make gathering trips to the forest. They spent money on firewood but not any time gathering firewood.
Older youth or men typically carried a load of firewood that weighed between 36 to 41 kg. A total number of 694 trips per week were reported by those families that gathered firewood. Each trip represented one heavy work day of 4-5 hours per person, with each family having a designated people who did this work, either by individually (always men) or in small groups of 2-3 people.
The 694 trips per week roughly represent 20,820 kilograms being extracted from the forest each week by the 263 HHs, using a conservative weight of 30 kg/load.
You might want to read that again – 694 trips extracting roughly 20,820 kilograms of firewood each week by only 263 families - just imagine the time and effort involved.
As an affordable and efficient technology, an ecological stove can certainly make a difference, and contribute to the wellbeing of families.
With your support, we can continue to lighten the load for families living in poverty in Tlamacazapa.