New Christmas Cooker…

Zowditu, pictured below, is a young mother who lives in the highlands of Ethiopia and is determined that cooking over an open fire in the middle of her mud hut should become a thing of the past. She has known tragedy when her little cousin slipped and fell in the fire. An open fire in the middle of the hut with three clay stands on which to balance the cooking pot (see the picture above). A wood fire is then lit to cook. You can imagine the danger for children, never mind a roomful of smoke, the effect on your lungs and the relentless need to collect fire wood …all this before you trying to cook anything!

Can you give £13, £21 or £30 this Christmas to help get rid of the open fire and cook safely and efficiently?

The fuel efficient stoves are made of four semi-circular concrete parts constructed by filling a metal form with compressed concrete – see what Zowditu and her friends are doing in the picture– this is then cemented together in the home along with a hot plate, which covers the top and a chimney system added. The heat is concentrated and controlled, the wood consumption is lowered by over 50% reducing the work for women having to collect wood.

Zowditu is part of a women’s group who set up a little cooperative which is registered with the local authorities so gaining legal status. This is important as it then allows them to open a bank account. The women’s small business is made up of thirty women who elect their own chairwoman, secretary and treasurer. Action Ethiopia provide the equipment and purchases the initial sand and cement that is needed and give the necessary training. The women agree to save 150 birr (just under £2) each month. This is recorded and banked. The fuel saving stoves are then sold and the profit as also saved. This builds up a so called revolving fund allowing the purchase of more sand and cement for more stoves. Additionally there is a surplus that the women can lend, to each other, for new micro business enterprises ideas within the group. A small interest rate is applied and terms agreed at regular meetings. You can see the revolving fund grows allowing more business and generating new enterprise.

Who would have thought that so much benefit could come from a new cooker! You can see the pride these women have as they display the latest concrete cooker moulds ready for sale.
Zowditu’s vision and the success become the envy of neighbouring communities. One of these called Wofwasha Genete want to set up a similar group to provide the benefits of fuel saving stoves to their very remote community. I have been to Wofwahsa Genete It’s a day’s hard walking over the escarpment, there are no roads or any services.

It is amazing how success breeds success but because theWofwasha Genete is so far from Zowditu’s group a new women’s group will need to set up.

As we all consider what we are going to cook for Christmas would you be prepared to give £12, £21 or £30 for a new fuel saving stove? It will bring greater safety for children and the many benefits discribed for Ethiopian communities. 

A little goes a long way – Please consider a gift.

Your gift will change the lives of people in the Ethiopian Highlands.