Saving Lives with Sustainable Cooking in Kwale
"It is frightening to fetch firewood in the forest as there are herds of elephants, the elephants migrated to our area since February this year and have permanently made it their home."
Kwale County, Kenya- Fear of loss of lives by herds of elephants while sourcing for firewood in the village have made women in Chengoni village in Kwale County to embrace environment sustainable firewood cooking jikos, writes Thurea Mwadzaya.
Hadija Kasiwa Kalu, a woman in Chengoni narrates that she now enjoys cooking in peace while using 3 firewood pieces from a project that was initiated by Juma Mwashanga, a consultant on marine and blue economy in Kwale County.
“It is frightening to fetch firewood in the forest as there are herds of elephants, the elephants migrated to our area since February this year and have permanently made it their home. I used to be scared, taking risks in order to fetch fuel to feed my family of 6, the firewood lasted for 3 days as I placed a lot of firewood at once so as to make a big fire “said Hadija.
In embracing technology through implementing the pillar of innovation in Kenya’s vision 2030 in the Infrastructural development; science technology and Innovation by using the 3 firewood cooking jiko has also enabled the mother of 6 to cook with ease, free from smoke as the jiko is lined to make it smokeless.
“I now enjoy cooking, no more tears while cooking and also no coughing. I used to cough, have teary eyes while placing the firewood on open firewood. I now place 3 pieces of firewood and I use only pieces of paper to lit the fire .Polythene or plastic material will damage the jiko. “ said Hadija Kasiwa.
Moreover, carrying heavy loads of firewood to add more firewood twice per week when it finishes makes many women to have body pains and do less at home as the day will be spent in sourcing firewood.
Fatuma Dzame Mwachiramba, a resident in chengoni village Kwale County says that it is worth using the 3 firewood cooking technology jiko to save time and have good health.
“I save a lot of time and I now end up doing my house chores in full .I have less pains as I do not carry a lot of firewood ,the load that I used for 3 days I now use for 2 weeks is worth. “ said Fatuma Mwachiramba.
According to Juma Mwashanga, the sustainable appropriate technologies design of novel fuel-efficient firewood wood-burning jikos cooking systems combats environment degradation by having smokeless jikos that help in reducing damage to the lungs to rural people who use firewood as fuel.
The jikos, which have a tracking number to ensure they are used in Kwale County as Kwale County is an area that is prone to human and wildlife conflict hence distributed to women in.
“The technique used to minimize the supply of firewood is by use of special clay mounted and lined on iron sheets, with one hole in the jiko and makes the fire consumption to last for 3 hours and firewood is expected to last for 10 days to 14 days. “ said Mwashanga
In line with the sustainable development goal 7 in ensuring access to clean and affordable energy which is key to the development of agriculture , business , communications ,education ,healthcare and transportation ,while the lack of access hinders economic and human development.
“The project also addresses sustainable development goals by providing clean energy to the community which enables to minimize pulmonary diseases in the rural areas which occur while cooking using open firewood and cooking uncomfortably and have teary eyes. “ said Mwashanga.
The smokeless jikos help not to have smoke from cooking on firewood fires which can cause long term damage to the lungs.
The World Health Organization estimates that inhaling smoke from cooking causes four million deaths each year; that’s ten times as many deaths from malaria.
Moreover Mwashanga said , the jiko project implementation will make it possible for trees to be grown thus improving roads, making Kwale County community to commit to restore value and protect the roads as several cases of vandalization were seen , minimize cutting down of trees , increased employment by mentoring the youth to have skills in making the jikos .
“We have a harsh environment in Kwale County that has human and wildlife conflicts , through using this innovating cooking jiko , the women will have less time in sourcing firewood, the community will also have tree planting activities to restore their land. “ said Mwashanga.
In addressing the United Nations sustainable goal 9 seeking to build resilient infrastructure, promoting sustainable industrialization and foster innovation .Economies with a diversified industrial sector and strong infrastructure sustained less damage and are experiencing faster recovery.
The jiko project will also create a ripple effect of having a healthy community through reduced smoke inhalation, saving time for women to do other activities, increased innovation and skills for the youth and a restored environment.
It is a win for all in Kwale County.