In February, CREATE! field technicians traveled over 300 miles to the region of Kolda in southern Senegal to introduce our clay-sand improved cookstoves to a new part of the country through improved cookstove trainings. Two US Peace Corps Volunteers based in the village of Horé Tendie invited CREATE! to lead the improved cookstove trainings in their host community. Improved cookstoves are the centerpiece of CREATE!’s sustainable development programs in Senegal and we lead cookstove trainings in many rural communities, often at the request of Peace Corps Volunteers.
CREATE! technicians Moussa Ndiaye and Amadou Diouf led the improved cookstove trainings in Horé Tendie, which covered not only the techniques of stove construction, but also broader information about deforestation and advancing desertification. During the training, women learned about and participated in the construction of an improved cookstove. Technicians also emphasized the economic and environmental benefits of switching to improved cookstoves from open cook fires. After participants built the demonstration stove together and asked questions, they returned to their own homes to build their own cookstoves, under the supervision and guidance of Moussa and Diouf.
CREATE!’s fuel-efficient improved stoves use up to 60 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.
CREATE! Country Director Omar Ndiaye Seck noted that although the small community of Horé Tendie is very impoverished, men and women in the village are eager to learn new skills that can improve their lives. Aside from the cultivation of cotton and sorghum during the short rainy season, there are currently no economic opportunities available for men and women living in the village. Seck believes, however, that the community has enormous potential due to its strong water table and rich soil. Now that men and women in the village have learned to build improved cookstoves, they can work with their Peace Corps Volunteers to learn new skills to build their economic self-sufficiency.