A Cleaner, Safer Cookstove has Transformed Hundene’s Life – and Improved her Injera!

In Mirab Abaya, in the village of Molle, Hundene Huka is one woman whose life has been transformed by Irish Aid and Vita’s fuel-efficient cookstove programme. With four children, she, like most women in her community, used to use the traditional way of cooking to feed her family.

“I used three stones cook stove to cook for my family. It was extremely harmful to me and my children.”

Hndene Huka

The three stone method is simple: three rocks placed on the ground between which an open fire is lit. Cooking implements are then placed on top – often in a precarious position – and are typically at risk of causing serious burn injuries to the small children constantly near the fire. For Hundene, the main health issue was the noxious smoke produced by this open flame:

“When I used the three stone stove, there was a lot smoke that caused me respiratory disease.”

The fumes were harming the health of her and her children as well as contributing to the air pollution of her environment. Add to this the fact this stove was highly inefficient, requiring longer cooking times and much more firewood, and it was clear a solution was needed.

Vita provided Hundene and other local women with a fuel-efficient cookstove alternative that required less firewood and cooking time and drastically reduced indoor air pollution and risk of burns, eye disease and respiratory illness. The “Mirte” stove is a stove specifically designed for Ethiopian cuisine and is used by Hundene and other women to cook the famous ‘injera’ bread which is a local delicacy. Vita also introduced the “Tikikil” stove, which is a small apparatus used to boil coffee, tea and to cook wot (an Ethiopian stew). Between these two small stoves, both of which are highly efficient and safe, Hundene’s home life was suddenly transformed.

Using the traditional stove, Hundene used to need to collect seven bundles of wood for fuel each week. This has been more than halved by Vita’s intervention. Now, she consumes only three bundles. According to Hundene, this stove is miraculous! She lists its biggest benefits as, “reducing heat impact and skin injuries, increasing the quality of my cooking (particularly my injera!), reducing the smoke inside and deforestation. As you can see,” she says, “our environment is recovering.”

Thus, these stoves don’t just improve lives and health, save women time and money, and make for better cooking. They also help to reduce deforestation and cut down on carbon emissions as less trees being cut down for fuel means less carbon emissions in our Earth’s atmosphere. These stoves are therefore critical in our mission to build thriving, rural communities and to ensuring, alongside Irish Aid, that we are building a better world. To support this mission, click here.