Traditional 3 stone fires are a leading cause of health problems in developing countries. In areas where they are used, smoke particles and toxic emissions make respiratory disease the 6th leading cause of death and have been shown to affect fetal development. Women and young children who spend the most time around cooking fires are particularly vulnerable. In addition these fires use a lot of wood with consequences for the environment, the family budget, time for homework and access to education. The Kibale Fuelwood Project works to help address these issues around Kibale National Park through developing alternative fuels and the introduction of fuel efficient, low emission stoves.
Now, thanks to the vision of Kasiisi Project teacher Muhimbise Elius and the enthusiasm of his pupils, the Kasiisi Project is also involved in this important work. Elius’ very successful student run programs are bringing Improved Cook Stove technology to all 14 communities we work in. Through our schools we can reach 8000-10000 children with the potential for an important escalation in uptake of these stoves around the park, reducing pressure on Kibale Forest and contributing to better health for women and children.
To date students from 6 schools have built over 70 stoves in their communities. In addition Elius has been invited to bring his students to build stoves in Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger camps and to teach stove building technology to schools and women’s groups outside our program.
The Kasiisi Project supports Elius’ work by funding transport, protective clothing, soap and the wooden forms so that builders can make “free” mud bricks. We have also instituted follow ups to check if student built stoves are maintained and in use. Data show that 89% of our student built stoves are still in use as the primary family stove after 12 months – with only 17% needing maintenance.