This week, CREATE!’s Senegal team hosted visitors from Vibrant Village Foundation’s programs in northern Ghana. Lenny Baer, Ghana Program Director, and his colleague Phillip, toured CREATE!’s partner villages to learn more about our integrated, community-based development programs in rural Senegal.

Materials for Improved Cookstoves

CREATE! field technicians teach women how to build improved cookstoves out of free, locally-available materials – clay, sand, and millet husks.


Mixing materials for  Improved Cookstoves

Women create the cookstove material by combining clay, sand, and millet husks with water.


Forming material into balls for Improved Cookstoves

Next, they form the combined materials into balls.

In addition to visiting several cooperative garden sites, Lenny and Phillip participated in an improved cookstove training in CREATE!’s new partner community of Back Samba Dior. CREATE! field technicians taught women in Back Samba Dior how to build their own improved cookstoves almost two years ago. Improved cookstoves are the centerpiece of CREATE!’s sustainable development programs in Senegal and cookstove trainings are always our initial intervention in rural communities. CREATE! gauges potential partners’ commitment to our participatory approach by returning one month after the training to determine how many women in the community have built their own improved cookstoves. We prioritize villages – like Back Samba Dior – with high rates of cookstove adoption for future partnership. All women in Back Samba Dior are now expert cookstove builders and are eager to share their knowledge with others!

Mapping out cookstove

CREATE! technician Moussa Ndiaye maps out the shape of the new improved cookstove. Cookstoves are built to fit an existing cooking pot and rest on three blocks or stones, just like traditional cook fires.


Building walls for the Improved Cookstoves

Women use the cookstove mixture to build up the walls of the cookstove.


Checking thickness of wall

Cookstove walls should be about a hands width thick. Using hands and fingers (instead of a ruler) to measure cookstove components ensures that everyone can participate.

CREATE!’s fuel-efficient improved stoves use up to 70 percent less firewood than traditional open fires. Thanks to improved cookstoves, women and girls no longer need to walk long distances to collect firewood for cooking, thereby freeing time, reducing labor, and increasing the likelihood that girls will be able to remain in school. For families that buy firewood, the use of improved cookstoves reduces household expenses because firewood lasts three times as long. Cookstoves also have numerous health benefits – they burn cleaner than open fires and cook meals thoroughly, thus lowering the risk of disease.

Lenny and Phillip are excited to bring CREATE!’s model improved cookstove technology to their partner communities in rural northern Ghana.

Finishing touches to the Improved Cookstoves

Once the cookstove is the correct size, builders correct its dimensions as needed and smooth out the sides of the stove.


Cutting chimneys in the Improved Cookstoves

Finally, women cut chimneys in the stove so that smoke can escape.