During his recent visit to Senegal, CREATE! Founder Barry Wheeler traveled to the village of Diabel with CREATE! Country Director Omar Ndiaye Seck and Field Technician Amadou Diouf to meet community members and to lead a training session in the construction of improved cookstoves. Over 62 kilometers northeast of the town of Guinguineo, Diabel is located on the edge of the Sahel in a very hot, desert-like environment.

Clay-sand improved cookstoves: Testing material consistency

Barry and Diouf taught women how to test the cookstove material to see if it has the correct consistency. This ensures that cookstoves remain strong.

Although the region around Diabel was once forested, agricultural expansion and demand for firewood has fueled local deforestation. Now, the community of Diabel has few trees and families in the village must purchase expensive firewood for cooking.

Clay-sand improved cookstoves: Building cookstove walls

In this photo, Diouf demonstrates how to properly build the walls of the improved cookstove.

As part of their visit, Barry and Diouf taught women in Diabel how to build their own clay-sand improved cookstoves out of free, local materials. The women were enthusiastic participants and enjoyed learning the techniques required to build an improved cookstove. Following the training, they returned to their homes to build their own improved cookstoves. CREATE! technicians will return in about one month to count the number of cookstoves built and to provide follow-up training, if needed.

Clay-sand improved cookstoves: Learning how to build a cookstove

Improved cookstoves are also culturally appropriate. Women build stoves for their own cooking pots and do not need to change their cooking habits. Learn more about clay-sand improved cookstoves on the CREATE! website: https://createaction.org/renewableenergy_overview.php

Clay-sand improved cookstoves are an appropriate solution to the problem of deforestation around Diabel. Improved cookstoves use up to 75 percent less firewood than traditional open fires. Thanks to improved cookstoves, women will no longer need to purchase expensive firewood or rely on dwindling forest resources to fuel their cooking fires. When cooking with an improved cookstove, women only need two or three small sticks of wood to prepare an entire meal. During the rainy season, CREATE! will return to Diabel to teach women how to establish tree nurseries and to distribute tree seedlings for reforestation. Slowly, the community will be able to rebuild their native forests.