Fuel Efficient Stoves for Darfur

by Global Communities

I am pleased to report that [following a lull during the holidays] production of fuel-efficient stoves in Nyala is back up to 15-20 stoves per day and as of January 23, CHF had already produced a total of 2,627 stoves in Nyala, South Darfur. The Nyala Ministry of Youth has allocated CHF additional workspace and a storage facility within its Nyala Youth Center free of charge, a gesture that indicates vital Governmental Ministry support for the program.

In February, CHF is hiring additional laborers [thanks to the overwhelming support of our individual donors through Global Giving and beyond], which will increase production to 35-45 stoves per day (approx 1000/month).

CHF has also partnered with Action Contre le Faim [a French NGO] to distribute the stoves to vulnerable internally displaced people (IDPs) in Kalma, Otash, Dereig, and Al Salaam camps, and also with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to distribute the stoves to remote areas of Eastern Jebel Mara, and to Gereida camp.

The demand for the stove among the internally displaced people (IDPs) is high because the stove is durable, effective, and tangibly beneficial to their lives. The project is going strong.

Nafisa with her new stove and chairs.
Nafisa with her new stove and chairs.

Nafisa Khalil Ibrahim has lived in Otash IDP camp since March 2004 when she was displaced from her home village in the fighting that has consumed her native Darfur. Nafisa, who is 29 years old and from the Dajo tribe, lives with her husband, son and her parents in a small shelter in the Northern sector of Otash camp. Nafisa began participating in CHF's program in a women’s center set up in Otash camp in 2006 and purchased a metal fuel efficient stove at the women’s center in June 2007 after a meeting where a staff member explained the benefits of the stove.

This project, which is possible through the generous support of our donors, is dramatically decreasing the personal threat women living in the camps face when they must set out to forage for firewood. With a considerable saving of energy, the stoves models save women time and money, which they would otherwise spend on purchasing the wood.

With her new stove, Nafisa quickly saw the amount of firewood she required to cook for her family reduce by between a one half and two thirds. While she used to use two to three bundles of fire wood daily (paying approximately $.50 per bundle) she now uses just one or one and a half bundles per day. With the savings Nafisa says she is now able to diversify her family's diet and provide fruit and vegetables for her growing son.

When Coy met with Nafisa last week, she also proudly displayed her new chairs and bed sheets that she was able to purchase with her savings.

Halima with stove
Halima with stove

Halima came to the IDP camp three years ago with her husband and 6 children. She received a fuel-efficient stove in June 2007. The new stove model meant that she was able to reduce her expenses on fuel-wood by two-thirds. Her household savings immediately saw a dramatic increase. By the end of the third week, she could afford school uniforms and books for two of her children. By the second month she had enough capital to start a small business selling charcoal. Today, Halima's family is living a much healthier life--she can afford to feed them meat 3-4 times a week and can buy more fresh fruits and vegetables.

Halima says her best advice for women who have a stove is to save the money well, and use it to improve quality of life for their families.

The temporary camps in Darfur have seen their populations increase as more internally displaced people (IDPs) arrive every day. Food is cooked in pots on wood fires outside of simple shelters. Firewood is available at a price from markets in the camps, or women have to walk for many hours to gather it. These women are often at risk from criminals who may steal their wood and/or threaten them with bodily harm. It is anticipated that by reducing the amount of wood needed to cook food, life will get better for the IDPs.

The Berkeley Darfur Stove (BDS) is a portable, fuel-efficient, sheet metal stove that uses much less wood to cook. The design, manufacture and distribution of the BDS is a team effort by CHF International and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories. The major benefits of the fuel-efficient stove are: less money spent on firewood, less time spent gathering firewood, improved personal safety, and a reduced impact on the environment.

The BDS project achieved a major goal with the arrival of a mechanical engineer in Darfur. Michael Helms, VIP (Visiting International Professional) traveled to Darfur this week with several hundred pounds of tools and materials. Helms brought equipment with him to set up a metal stove factory. The simple, rugged tools will cut, bend and spot-weld the sheet metal used to make the stoves.

After arriving in Darfur, Helms met with local CHF staff to discuss their assessments of the first batch of stoves that were distributed to IDPs in November 2006. CHF interviewers reported that women using the stoves saved significant amounts of firewood. They also learned that the food cooked faster and tasted better when prepared in the new stove. The BDS design provides a cleaner, hotter fire, transfers more heat to the cooking pot, and uses less wood than the traditional three-stone cooking fire used by IDPs. Helms visited local businesses to assess availability of tools and materials, and made his first visit to a camp to learn how the stoves are being used. He is now working with the stove design team to enhance the stove's functionality, simplify its manufacture, and reduce total costs.

Severe fighting in Sudan’s Darfur region has forced approximately 2.2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) to live in densely populated temporary camps. Due to the arid environment and population in the camps fuelwood, which is necessary for cooking food and tea, has become limited in supply. This forces many women and children to leave the safety of their camps to fetch fuelwood from far distances and impose great risk upon themselves.

To address this situation, CHF International has teamed up with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) at Berkley University to research, design and manufacture more energy efficient stoves for use in IDP camps. To execute the first phase of this program, Visiting International Professional (VIP) Brian Tachibana traveled to Khartoum, Sudan to oversee production of the first 50 stoves. With an education and work experience as an engineer, Brian was able to work with CHF Sudanese staff to simplify the initial stove design to account for material availability and allow greater productivity during the manufacturing process.

In just two weeks, the initial 50 stoves were constructed and then transported to locations in North and South Sudan for testing. Families in IDP camps are now using the stoves on a daily basis and the LBNL team will be able to modify the stove design based upon testing feedback. Initial research shows that these stoves will cut fuelwood usage between 30-50%. This will result in substantial savings of time and money for families during food preparation, especially increasing security for women and children who will not have to travel as often away from the IDP camps.

With his VIP assignment successfully completed, Brian dreams of returning to Sudan in ten years time to see the changes to the country. In the meantime, he continues to work with LBNL to provide guidance and insight as the program expands to the next phase of implementation. Soon another engineering expert will travel to Sudan to begin mass production of 5,000 additional stoves to benefit greater numbers of IDPs.



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Organization Information

Global Communities

Location: Silver Spring, MD - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.globalcommunities.org
Global Communities
Project Leader:
Erin Mote
Manager of Resource Development
Silver Spring, MD United States

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