The rich smell of Ceebu Jen wafts through the hot afternoon air as Bassine Fall prepares lunch for her family over one of the improved cookstoves. Ceebu Jen delicious traditional Senegalese dish of rice, fish, and vegetables in a tomato-based sauce. “My children like eggplant we grow in the village,” Bassine says. She lives in the village of Walo and works in the community garden with other women every day. CREATE!’s technicians trained the community garden group each week on new agricultural techniques they can apply to their first year-round garden. For the first time, Bassine and other women can take home fresh vegetables to their family right from a village garden. “I like cooking rice and fish with the fresh vegetables,” Bassine tells us.
Kitchens are often social spaces for families to hang out together. Bassine is comfortable having her two children in the kitchen with her now that she uses an improved cookstove. Like many other families, Bassine previously to use an open fire which was more dangerous. “Many houses are built out of straw and there was insecurity in the village when we used the traditional fire,” she explains. “Since we use the improved cookstove I live in security with my children because it is built in the way the flame can’t get out.”
Pay It Forward
Spreading knowledge of improved cookstoves is crucial. After attending a training session from CREATE!’s technicians, Bassine taught other women how to build their own improved cookstoves. “I have built many improved cookstoves with other women in the village,” she says. Now other families can live with more safety and security in their kitchens. Across CREATE!‘s partner communities in rural Senegal over 650 families have built improved cookstoves!
Improving the Environment with Improved Cookstoves
Bassine cooks the Ceebu Jen for lunch over several small pieces of firewood. “When I used the traditional fire, I spent much on firewood each day,” she explains. In a region with increasing desertification each year, trees are a scarce resource. Since open fires require almost 10 pieces of firewood per meal, collecting wood can often take up an entire afternoon. “I have one cookstove in my kitchen and I notice that I use less firewood for cooking,” Bassine describes. CREATE!’s technicians calculate that women save up to 5 hours a day on average when they use improved cookstoves.
Using less firewood gives the deserted land a chance to regrow. Through CREATE!’s tree-planting campaign, the village of Walo can not only replenish the trees they use but also plant to improve the land. “Trees we are planting today will help our children in the future because people use wood frequently,” Bassine tells us. Thanks to Bassine and other volunteers’ hard work, the village of Walo is thriving and continuing to develop an improved livelihood for the next generation. Stories like Bassine’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 Bassine by donating to CREATE! today.