The majority of kitchens in Madagascar, rural areas and cities alike, use cookstoves to prepare their meals. Traditionally they use firewood, in urban areas charcoal. With a rapidly growing population, the immense need for firewood and/or charcoal is a major contributing factor to deforestation. Indoor air pollution from open cooking fires is a public health threat, especially for children and women. Charcoal burns almost smoke free and alternative carbon sources to wood are urgently needed.
Making your improved cookstove by hand, with your cooking pot as a mold, uses only locally available materials. Nothing needs to be bought from outside. How to make your improved cookstove is taught in hands-on community workshops. Learning how to make hand-made bio-charcoal from renewable resources, such as grass or rice husks, is taught in tandem. A pre-requisite to participate is the commitment to plant trees, with seedlings provided by the Zahana gardeners of our reforestation effort.
Improved cookstoves reduce the need for fuel by 75% and using bio-charcoal almost eliminates indoor smoke. Grass, charcoal's preferred carbon source, becomes a valuable commodity, so villagers will not burn it in brush fires anymore, which in turn protects reforestation's young trees. Zahana's reputation already generated requests from neighboring villages for this 3-step approach: cookstove, bio-charcoal and reforestation. Funding provided, this can be scaled up regionally, even nationally.
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