Friday, January 17, 2014

Basse: Women Exposed to Fuel-Efficient Stoves

If the cliché that ‘seeing is believing’ is something to cling to, then the women of Basse, the capital of provincial Upper River region of the Gambia, should no longer have doubt in shifting to energy-efficient cooking stoves.
For, they were recently made to see firsthand how one can prepare meals using the stoves, which compared with the traditional firewood and charcoal cooking devises, save more time and emits insignificant amount of smoke, thereby keeping cooks from exposure to health risks associated to smoke. 
“Engagement is needed for more women in URR so that we can all resort to the use of fuel efficient stoves and do away with firewood,” says a woman Astou Jobe, who witnessed the demonstration.   
Organised by the renewable energy association of the Gambia, REAGAM, in partnership with the ministry of Energy, with funding from the UNDP, the public demonstration on the use of the stoves was witnessed by women leaders, TAC members, police officers, community development workers and market women vendors. It was held at the Basse police station, situated right opposite the main market in that town.

“This cooking demonstration is part of our association’s strategy in complementing the efforts of the ministry of Energy in sustainable energy promotions,” says Mr. Alagie B.C Gaye of REAGAM.
“Our aim is to promote the use of energy-efficient cooking stoves, such as ‘Furno Jambar’ which  uses charcoal whilst ‘Noflai’ uses fuel wood, groundnut briquette; pottery stove uses clay and fuel wood rocket stove uses groundnut briquette; and solar cooking devise for using solar parabolic.”
Mr. Lamin Jaiteh, a community development facilitator in URR urged women to embrace the use of the stoves and use them in their households. He believes that the use of cooking stoves would empower women, who dominate the kitchen, and improve their daily lives, while contributing to sustainable forest exploitation.

Also speaking, Fatou Ceesay, energy planner, ministry of Energy, said twenty women groups were identified to participate in the cooking demonstration. She expressed satisfaction over the level of participation and hopes that the women would change their attitude towards consumption of energy resources.
Madam Binta Barrow, a volunteer at the Green Technology company, stressed that “our forests are vanishing because 80 percent of the country uses fuel wood for cooking and heating”. This has negative health and economic implication for the country, she warned.  

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