Improved fireplaces

A driver to improve women’s daily lives

Lea Biteau
Improved fireplaces
UNICEF CHAD/2019/Biteau

04 November 2019

Esther, 35 years old, lives with her family in Ndouba aeroport, a small village located in Logone Oriental province. She beneficiated from the distribution of improved fireplaces in her community, so called because, clay-made, they can preserve heat longer than a traditional one.

Up to few months ago, every day I had to fetch wood to cook dinner, and I had to carry heavy bundles of wood over several kilometres. Now, I don’t need to do it as often as before. It’s less heavy and much easier.

Improved fireplaces
UNICEF CHAD/2019/Biteau

Before, to make dinner, I had to use about 20 pieces of wood, while now I only need two.

Esther, 35 years old

In fact, an improved fireplace allows a significant reduction in firewood consumption, which means the arduousness of domestic work is lower and women gain time in their daily lives. Additionally, natural resources are less exploited.

Improved fireplaces
UNICEF CHAD/2019/Biteau

I am very happy with these new fireplaces. The cooking time is shorter, and there is a lower risk of getting burned, both for ourselves and our children. Buildings are also less likely to catch fire.

Josephine

These improved fireplaces are made by the “Women Ambassadors”, after a series of dedicated training sessions supported by UNICEF and the Ministry of Environment, Water and Fishery. As part of the PURCAE II project, funded by the World Bank, these women are now active promoters of the new product and know-how, by distributing it and talking door-to-door on its use and benefits for a safer, eco-friendly and lower-burden domestic life.

Aphenique, 32 years-old, is one of the women ambassadors in the village of Kobiteye. She explains us how to construct these improved fireplaces: “First, we need to get the clay that later we mix with rice or wheat bran. The mixture must rest for five days, before the final mix on the day of construction.” She adds: “I am very proud to transfer what I learned to other women in the community”. Her main wish is to expand this activity to neighbouring communities and generate new incomes from the fireplace construction.

In the targeted provinces, a total of 6,333 improved mobile clay fireplaces have been made and set up in households. A new challenge is on the horizon: developing a business plan on the construction of the innovative fireplace for women’s economic empowerment.

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As part of the Emergency Food and Livestock Crisis Response Project, funded by the World Bank Group, UNICEF is supporting the Government of Chad by providing technical assistance to increase access to sustainable water services and safe cooking systems to 46,000 people in 18 villages/sites in Moyen Chari and Logone Oriental and 1 site in Logone Occidental.