“Before I was introduced to SMECAO (Same and Mwanga Environmental Advisory Organization) fuel efficient stoves I was using traditional three-stone fire places for cooking. I wasted a lot of time fetching for firewood instead of engaging in other economic activities, I used to collect firewood four times per week. Also smoke inhalation due to the use of three-stone fire places inside the house was a problem to my health. After I was introduced to SMECAO fuel efficient stoves, I collect firewood only two times per week, the rest of the day I use for going to my farms and doing other productive activities” said Ms Zainabu Mmasa.
Many households in Same and Mwanga district like Ms Zainabu Mmasa were using three-stones fire places before the knowledge on the construction, the use and maintenance of improved stove being introduced by SMECAO. Open fire places were the most common traditional technology majority of people in Same and Mwanga districts used. The problems of cooking over an open fire place is the increased health problems caused by the smoke particularly lung, eye ailments and birth defects. Also the rates of cutting trees for cooking over an open fire are high compare with the use of SMECAO fuel efficient stoves.
Presently many trees are cut in a young stage before maturity. High consumption of fuel wood, has led our Natural and Public forests into destruction. One important method, to keep our environment sustainable is by reducing fuel wood consumption. This can be avoided by adopting different ways of energy saving instead of fuel wood. Replacing the traditional three-stone fire-place SMECAO introduce fuel efficient stoves made up of mud, stones and bricks which are easily available at the local area, with chimney for venting the smoke out of the house which can dramatically contribute to the improvement of family’s health. These stoves have been designed (so-called energy saving stoves) to reduce the utilization of fuel wood where by the use of traditional three stones fireplaces consume a lot of firewood.
According to the SMECAO baseline survey, traditional three stones fireplace use 14.65m3 per year of firewood which implies that 1m3 of firewood takes three mature growing trees that takes 8-15years to grow while by using SMECAO fuel efficient stoves use 7.14m3 per year of wood fuel. Practical example could be seen in Jitengeni secondary in Same district were they now use a lorry of firewood of 7tonnes for one week and two days after starting using SMECAO efficient fuel stoves while before when they were using traditional open fire places, they were use the same amount of fire wood only for four or rarely five days.
Advantages of using SMECAO fuel efficient stoves are minimize high consumption of fuel wood/charcoal, provide time to women for other development activities and reduction of health problem especial to women caused by the use of three stones traditional stoves due to smoke while using inside, Promotion of sustainable utilization of local resources, environmental sanitation due to effective use of waste product (e.g. husks) of which could have been thrown away, The money, a household spends on firewood means less money being available to be spent on food, education, and medical care, so saving through energy efficient stoves is seen as a way of boosting household income.
Adaptation of SMECAO fuel efficient stoves in Same and Mwanga is much impressed since local community is now aware on issues related to climate change especial at this moment were SMECAO implementing climate change project at Ngujini ward and Kwakoa ward in Mwanga district also in Vudee ward and Kihurio ward in Same district.
Vedasto J. Sukum-YETs 2011