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“THE NYEIHANGA PROJECT” Installing energy efficient stoves and raising awareness in rural Uganda

OVERVIEW 1. Background, 2. Introduction, 3. How the process got started, 4. Why target women?, 5. The process of making an energy efficient stove, 6. Outreach, 7. Nyeihanga Primary School, 8. Bye bye Kavera!, 9. Awareness Concert, 10. Team & Contact

1. Background Nyeihanga is a village in Mbarara district in Western Uganda, situated 220 kilometers from the capital, Kampala. Despite it’s hilly terrain, Nyeihanga is a heavily agricultural land. The biggest percentage of the land is made up of bare hills mainly for cattle keeping and the valleys with food crops and settlement. Over the years, the land has lost almost all its trees to the villagers who heavily depend on them for firewood for cooking. The rate, at which the trees are replaced with new ones, does not equal the rate at which they are cut down. Further, the increasing length of the dry season (inflicted by climate change) plus the increasing population has certainly not improved the conditions for the remaining scattered trees. The people in this village who used to collect firewood from nearby forests areas are now pushed to walk very long distances or even buy charcoal from shops and markets. Many people in Nyeihanga face a future where almost all trees will be wiped out!



2. Introduction

The Energy Crossroads Uganda team spent two weeks in Nyeihanga village reaching out to people through teaching the importance of energy saving/efficient stoves, their construction techniques, tree-planting, proper disposal of plastic bags and sustainable agriculture all promoting general climate change awareness. The decreased use of firewood in the energy saving/efficient stoves helps alleviate the pressure on the remaining forest areas, and as the seedlings planted grow this allow some areas to regain strength. Almost every household owns a conventional, three-stone, open cooking stove which does not only require a lot of firewood to get a simple meal ready to eat but also emits a lot of smoke which is affecting many women’s and children’s health who spend long hours cooking and doing house work in the smoke. Many women suffer from endless coughs, itchy teary eyes plus bad eyesight. “Energy Crossroads Uganda is part of Energy Crossroads East Africa: a subcoalition under the student-led network Energy Crossroads Global. We work to promote sustainable development by implementing small-scale renewable energy technologies and by spreading awareness in the local communities. The Nyeihanga project has been a aweinspiring experience and provides a case for the capacity of our local network“ Mr. David Semworgerere, President of EC East Africa

RIGHT: Some of the smokey kitchens in Nyeihanga village with the three-stone open cooking stoves, which pose great physical and health risks to children and women.



3. How the process got started The university students who volunteered with Energy Crossroads Uganda and who presumably were hardly exposed to the kitchen smoke and the women who are spending most of their daily life in the kitchen were involved in a small experiment. The only requirements were a simple tape measure and a notebook. In turn, everyone of these test-individuals had to sit at a fixed point where he/she were asked to read up loud from a textbook, which was being held up for the reader, but at a distance. When the individual reached a point where they could not read the sentences any more, the distance between the reader and the person carrying the book would be measured. After the simple experiment, comparisons showed that the women who spend a lot of time in the smoky kitchens were very shortsighted and strained their eyes to read at shorter distances compared to the men and the women whose eyes are hardly exposed to the smoke! This simple experiment was a clear and practical way for us to convey to the community, the long-term and negative impact the carbon monoxide and carbon particles have on eyes of the women who spend very long hours in smoky kitchens and of course on our climate. A further consequence of the traditional stoves, is that many burns and accidents are experienced by the children who grow up around such stoves. Risks and insecurities associated with walking long distances in regular search of the firewood are also to be faced by the young women in the village.

BELOW: A lot of the community members were curious of the project. The reverend from the Church of Uganda and the Local Council chairmen were among the many who found a chance to investigate the project process.

ABOVE: A woman having a turn to test her eyesight



4. Why target women? No one is affected more by the negative impact of smoky kitchens and the drudgery and risks (such as rape) of long distance searches for firewood than the women. They are the ones responsible for the daily cooking and for collecting the necessary fuel. Energy Crossroads Uganda volunteers worked with a group of Nyeihanga women. This group was practically taught how to make the shielded energy saving/efficient stoves in proper measurements using tape measures. If one knows well how to use an accurately constructed stove, the pieces of firewood which are used for a single day on a traditional three-stone stove, can be used the whole week when used in an energy saving stove. This has a positive effect on the climate change (as less CO2 is released in the atmosphere) but it also means that the negative effects mentioned above are, greatly mitigated.

5. The process of making an energy efficient stove Energy saving/efficient stoves are made with use of local raw materials like anthill soil, grass, water, banana fibers, banana stocks and a few bricks for the rocket Lorena Stove. The stoves are properly measured from the first step to the last, following measurement standards provided by the Uganda’s Ministry of Energy.


ABOVE: Some of the EC Uganda volunteers and the Nyeihanga women’s group members


5.1 The associated advantages with energy efficient stoves The energy saving stoves are child-friendly because the hot source pan is placed into the stove, so even if one knocks it, the source pan stays within the stove. This is not true for the source pan balanced on the traditional three-stone open stove which easily tips over when knocked. The women are able to work in a cleaner environment when using the energy saving stoves because the ash produced by the wood is kept inside the stove. The stoves are completely smokeless if not stuffed with firewood and if properly measured. Unlike the three-stone stove, the women do not have to blow into the energy saving stove to keep the fire burning and hence conditions that arise from regular inhaling of the ash and dust are minimal. The heat generated from the fuel wood is properly directed to reach the source pan. The wood used in the energy saving stove is properly burnt down leaving hardly any traces of carbon and carbon monoxide. The food also gets ready in a very short time compared to that which is cooked on an undirected open fire on the three-stone stove. The women quickly mastered the measuring of the stove and the materials used to make energy saving stoves and they can now construct complete stoves without or with just minimal further guidance. Importantly, these women are now empowered to provide guidance to other women. Not only on how to make the stoves but also the advantages and benefits which come along with using them, including climate change issues. By creating a ripples-in-the-pond effect, this provides space for a rapid expansion of the use of energy efficient stoves in the district.

ABOVE: Steps of building a regular energy efficient stove. BELOW: Rocket Lorena Stove



6. Outreach The women group appointed a chairperson, a secretary and a treasurer who came up with a name of the group; Nyeihanga Women’s Development Association (NAWODA). This group is now in the process of getting formally registered, enabling them to comfortably construct energy efficient stoves for themselves and other households at a fee to be determined by the group. This group was formed as a project in a larger sustainability strategy, which will see similar projects expanding to other neighboring areas. The strategy will help the forest to prosper and benefit the local women substantially. The women will also earn money from stove construction in the local community. Especially when the entire community learns about the cleaner, environmentally friendly and convenient new technology through the awareness campaigns. After thorough training, Energy Crossroads volunteers and the newly trained women group reached out to the only public primary school in the area, Nyeihanga Primary School. The school bought firewood and prepared every single meal for the teachers and children using three-stone open stoves. Now, five shielded stoves have been constructed for the teachers and one Rocket Lorena stove for the school kitchen. The service was much appreciated by the school administration, other headmasters, parents plus Local Council officials in Nyeihanga village! Head teachers from schools in other districts traveled long distances to come to Nyeihanga to see the new energy saving technology. Interest was high, as firewood is also the primary energy source in these districts and due to the fact that the price of firewood is increasing at the same speed as that of the rising, local deforestation.

TOP LEFT TO BOTTOM RIGHT: 1) EC Uganda team meeting Nyeihanga Primary School pupils, 2) Rocket Lorena at built in one of the women's home, 3) & 4) Traditional three-stone open stove method, which was being used in Nyeihanga Primary School before the implementation of this project.



7. Nyeihanga Primary School The pupils of Nyeihanga Primary School were theoretically and practically involved in the process. They learned about how to construct the energy saving stoves by collecting the materials needed, mixing the soil, grass and water for the school stove. The Energy Crossroads team, the women’s group, teachers and pupils all took part in the construction. They were also involved planting trees and were alerted on the steady decline of the scarce resource. The knowledge they acquired was passed on the parents, sisters, brothers and other people who they interacted with. Nyeihanga Primary School also welcomed the idea of growing their own vegetables and took part in planting vegetables such as cabbages, egg plants, tomatoes, Amaranths and bitter berries. Further the school assisted the Energy Crossroads volunteers in constructing a compost pit and nursery beds. Thus the idea of acquiring a new stove created a breathing space for simultaneously improving the diet of the meals served in the school by introducing vegetables and better methods of growing crops to the school. Not only will the children enjoy their meals more but also be healthier and learn the agricultural lessons, which they will teach to their families, communities and to the coming generations. The manure, created in the compost pit can be used for agriculture as well as for seedling growth of different types of trees.

TOP LEFT TO BOTTOM RIGHT: 1) & 2) EC Uganda volunteers passing on theoretical lessons on tree growth plus how to construct the energy saving stoves. 3), 4) & 5) Nyeihanga Primary School pupils taking part in mixing the soil that was used for the Rocket Lorena stove.



8. Bye Bye Kavera! Nyeihanga pupils also took part in the sanitation initiative that was introduced and integrated in the activities by the volunteers. This initiative was named BYE BYE KAVERA! Kavera is a local word, which means a plastic material. Plastic bags are often being poorly disposed off and are found everywhere, inside and outside the school. Volunteers thought this might hinder proper growth of the planted trees and other plants. They are very dangerous because they have caused a reduced rate of water infiltration in soil, because they hinder roots of crops from growing deep into the soil and because they kill cows and goats reared when swallowed, etc. However, the EC Uganda volunteers still have a challenge of cementing the pit to properly control the burning of kaveera.

ABOVE: Pupils and the Energy Crossroads team making compost in a Compost pit, setting up nursery beds and planting trees at the school premises. BELOW: Nyeihanga primary school pupils and EC Uganda volunteers picking up all plastics from the school compound and digging a BYE BYE KAVEERA pit.



9. Awareness Concert

Energy Crossroads worked with the teachers and administration of the Nyeihanga Primary School in preparing a concert for the pupils’ families and entire community to enjoy while learning more about the energy efficient stoves and climate change. Before the concert started, all the family and community members took part in a guided walk around the school to see the Rocket Lorena stoves built at the school kitchen, the exhibited shielded stoves, the BYE KAVERA pit, the compost manure pit, Vegetable nursery bed, and the prepared garden. This first part of the occasion was concluded with tree planting in the school compound.A further consequence of the traditional stoves, is that many burns and accidents are experienced by the children who grow up around such stoves. Risks and insecurities associated with walking long distances in regular search of the firewood are also to be faced by the young women in the village. The occasion was successful with a big turn up of guests. Community members from the entire village religious leaders, political leaders, Local Council officials of the village plus the parents of Nyeihanga primary school attended the exhibition event. All these practices were presented through poems, plays songs and games by the pupils of Nyeihanga Primary School. EC Uganda used the great opportunity to speak to the audience to further introduce Energy Crossroads, the trained women group, energy efficient stoves and climate change to the entire community. All performances loudly carried the message of climate change, importance of tree growth, energy saving stoves, proper disposal of plastic wastes, sustainable agriculture and women empowerment. The school gave back to the Energy Crossroads members and trained women group (NAWODA) members for their effort, awareness and for bringing out the pupils’ talents, by hosting a lovely, surprise farewell dinner!

A woman having a turn to test her eyesight “Lorem Ipsum Dolor Set Ahmet In Condinmentum. Nullam Wisi Acru Suscpit Consectetuer viviamus Lorem Ipsum Dolor Set Ahmet. Lorem Ipsum Dolor Set Ahmet In Wisi Acru Suscpit Consectetuer Community members from the entire village including religious & political leaders, Local Council officials plus the parents of Nyeihanga primary school attended the event.


10. Team & Contact Energy Crossroads Uganda is part of the global, student-led network Energy Crossroads. Energy Crossroads is a global movement/coalition of young people from across sectors, disciplines and borders who advance issues of clean energy and climate change as a unifying solution to national and international security, environmental and economic challenges. Among us are future policy makers, technologists, entrepreneurs, academics, development workers, social scientists and activists. We all believe, that by working together and learning from each other we can spark innovative ideas to enable future sustainable energy and climate change transformations. Other chapters count, US, Denmark, Singapore, Nepal, China, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Sierra Leone.

CONTACT Mr. David Semworgerere

Phone: +256 772 351 736

Mrs. Yvette K. Ampaire

Phone: +256 752 806 625

For inquiries about Energy Crossroads Global, please contact: Mr. Michael D. Plesner

Phone: +45 51 22 98 92

FASHION MONTHLY 1234 Main Street Anytown, State 54321

Recipient Name 4321 First Street Anytown, State 54321

The Nyeihanga Project  

The Nyeihanga Project - Energy Croosroads Uganda