In an attempt to help conserve the environment and improve people’s health, a Dutch Non- Governmental Organisation (NGO) is promoting the use of improved stoves in the country.
According to one of the founders of the organisation Giel de Pooter, most households in the country use open fires and inefficient stoves which consume huge amounts of wood and charcoal.
In an interview with The Daily Times, Pooter observed that if the annual wood consumption remains the same and no broad-scale replanting programmes are initiated, the country is heading for disaster.
Said Pooter: “Open fires contribute tremendously to the effect of global warming. Worth mentioning is also the economic loss, people in the urban buy expensive charcoal or wood while women and children waste a lot of time collecting firewood,
“The first time I came to Malawi, I entered a kitchen at a hospital in Namitete [Lilongwe] where women were cooking and there was just too much smoke which is bad for their health. I had to do something about it.”
Pooter explained that he, together with two other people, started collecting donations from well-wishers in the Netherlands to acquire improved stoves, some of which have been donated while others are being sold at reasonable prices.
“The last three years in [collaboration] with local partners, Cadecom, 2,000 high-efficient cooking stoves have been donated to communities in the country. I have brought into the country 4,000 stoves for both charcoal and wood and they are making a difference in people’s lives both economically and health-wise,” he said.
Pooter further said he is scheduled to hold meetings with government officials soon so as to agree on better ways on how to make available the stoves to majority of Malawians, adding that his goal is to reach at least 10,000 people in the country with the stoves every year.
A beneficiary of the stove, Lonely Munthali Mbewa from Mzimba, said her family is now saving a lot of money through the use of the improved stove.
“At first I could use a 50 kg bag of charcoal for two weeks but now it lasts a month,” she said.
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