Empowering Women with Energy-efficient cook stove

The majority of people in Ethiopia cook their food using polluting open-fire stoves. This way of cooking is inefficient, using a lot of firewood. Women can spend up to four hours per day — or 60 days every year — collecting firewood. Lack of access to efficient stoves can place women and children in danger as they often take responsibility for fetching firewood, walking long distances to search for increasingly scarce resources; on these journeys they are at risk of gender-based violence.

Aselefech Abebe

In the home, open-fires are also a hazard for women and children’s health as they create harmful smoke in the home, leading to serious health problems like respiratory and heart disease. 

Aselefech Abebe, a 35-year-old mother of three used to walk for more than an hour several times a week with her young daughter to collect firewood. Like most women in Ethiopia, Aselefech used a traditional three-stone open-fire stove to cook meals for her family.  

Aselefech Abebe cooking on her energy-efficient cook stove

With the support of Irish Aid, Aselefech is now the proud owner of two types of efficient cook stoves, one for boiling and one for cooking injera, the Ethiopian staple flatbread. These stoves are thanks to a Vita programme to empower rural communities with access to energy-efficient cook stoves.  

Aselefech’s family use about 50% less firewood now – her new stoves often only need twigs to power them.

This helps to protect nearby forests, which had been getting smaller and smaller as people had no option but to cut down trees to use as firewood. 

According to Aselefech, her new improved cook stoves have freed up a lot of her time. The new cook-stoves also mean that her children are attending school regularly and have more time for homework, as there is less need for them to collect firewood. 

Aselefech says her kitchen is much less smoky now too! 

To support important empowering women  programmes across Ethiopia and Eritrea, click here.