Renewable and appropriate technology is at the heart of CREATE!’s work. We strive to develop sustainable solutions that benefit communities and preserve the environment. Our solutions range from solar-powered water pumps to organic agriculture methods, improved cookstoves, and more. Today we’re going to focus on improved cookstoves: a more environmental and human-friendly design of wood-burning cookstoves.

Taking Care of the Heart of the Home

People often refer to the kitchen as the heart of one’s home. It’s where families and guests gather together to share meals and conversation, and children commonly play here while their parents prepare food. However, with traditional open fires, families in rural Senegal face multiple challenges in the heart of the home. Traditional open fires spread smoke throughout their kitchens. As a result, many people face health issues and kitchens are black with ash. Open fires can also be a danger to children and animals who may get too close. During the dry season, traditional fires have been known to accidentally burn homes. The heart of one’s home should be a safe space to cook meals and gather with friends and neighbors. It should be a place where children can comfortably stay by their mother’s side.

Introducing Cleaner and Safer Wood Burning Cookstoves

CREATE! technicians visit multiple communities across rural Senegal who are interested in using improved cookstoves. Improved cookstoves are completely free to build using all local materials: clay, sand, dry grass, and water. CREATE! technicians teach members of the community how to make the stoves, particularly women. They also encourage them to teach others and spread the technology throughout Senegal’s villages. The improved cookstoves enable women to prepare meals using their usual methods and pots more safely and efficiently than on traditional open fires.


Improved cookstoves are made from free and locally sourced materials: Clay, sand, dry grass, and water.

Mariame Pouye’s Story

Meet Mariame Pouye, a young woman from the village of Keur Daouda. Mariame has one cookstove in her kitchen that she built herself. She tells us that she can already see a difference, “Before we got sick from the household air pollution because we used firewood or charcoal on open fires which created a lot of smoke.” Now, Mariame ensures the safety of her family in the heart of her home. “With the improved cookstove, which only has one opening, we can cook securely with less smoke and without any danger,” she explains.

Saving Trees

Women are using less firewood to cook meals with the improved cookstove. “When I used the traditional fire, I spent much wood because the wind was coming from anywhere and it wasted the firewood quickly. With the improved cookstove I use only two pieces for cooking a meal,” Mariame says. Because improved cookstoves reduce firewood consumption by 60-70%, community members are helping to reduce deforestation.

In addition, women are also saving time and money. They no longer have to purchase as much additional firewood from vendors to meet their cooking needs. As a result, with more time and money comes more opportunities. Marieme has more time to take care of her family and engage in other projects such as Keur Daouda’s community garden. “I appreciate the improved cookstove because its time cooking is quick and I have the possibility to do other activities at home.” She tells us.


Mariame Pouye

Stories like Mariame’s really go to show how deeply people’s lives can be effected through training and empowerment at the village level. This is the kind of success we want for women across all of our partner communities in rural Senegal. Consider helping more women like Marieme by donating to CREATE! today.