Protecting native forests and improving livelihoods with sustainable cooking technology

By distributing fuel efficient stoves to Maasai communities living at the Southern side of Lake Naivasha, this project improves livelihoods while reducing emissions and the risk of smoke-related health problems. It also alleviates pressure on the Mau Forest, the largest native montane forest in East Africa, where many indigenous people collect their firewood.

The Context

The Maasai People are one of Africa's well known and iconic indigenous tribes inhabiting an area that spans much of Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania. Despite pressure from governments to abandon their traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle, the Maasai people have clung to age old customs that preserve their unique culture. However the traditional Maasai method of cooking over an open wood fire is not only time consuming and destructive to the forest, but produces significant amounts of indoor smoke that exposes women and children to severe health hazards.

The Project

An efficient cooking stove has been introduced to replace open fires, with 5,654 cookstoves distributed to date. These cookstoves reflect traditional woodfire methods, but require 66% less firewood, considerably reducing smoke emissions and improving health conditions for families. By reducing emissions and slowing deforestation for fuelwood, the project is reducing approximately 14,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year.

The Benefits

By using the efficient stoves, Maasai people are no longer exposed to as much smoke from indoor cooking, limiting dangerous pollutants and respiratory diseases. As the stoves require less wood fuel, women and children spend less time collecting firewood and can instead focus on earning an income or attending school respectively. Wood was commonly sourced from Mau Forest, the largest native montane forest in East Africa, some pressure of deforestation has now been lifted from this area.

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