How Being Energy Efficient in Ethiopia Is Helping the Environment

WFP Is expanding Its safe stove initiative in Ethiopia by distributing 24,000 additional safe, fuel-efficient stoves in the Ahmara region. The project, which began five years ago thanks to funding from Germany’s KfW Development Bank, will also be generating revenues from carbon credits that WFP will reinvest in food insecure communities. We met a few families to see the benefits of these stoves for their lives and their environment.

BAHIR DAR – “Time” is the first word that comes to Dasash’s mind when asked about the benefit of the improved stove.

“The time I spend collecting wood has been cut in half, the smoke is reduced, I don’t burn myself anymore and my eyes are much more comfortable,” Dasash Girmaye says, showing her new “tikikil” rocket stove, the name of which means “the right one” in Amharic.

The stove uses 60 percent less fuel than an open fire, and can last up to two years; parts can easily be replaced as the stoves are manufactured locally. The project’s design also makes maintenance and installation of the stoves easier, as one person in each village is trained to install them.

“WFP has been distributing safe, fuel-efficient stoves in Ethiopia since 2009, but there’s an additional advantage of this new phase of the initiative,” explains Hakan Tongul, the head of WFP’s programme unit in Ethiopia. “It will benefit people in the long term too, since each stove will generate revenue in carbon credit that we will then reinvest in the communities.”

A total of 200,000 stoves will be distributed in several regions of Ethiopia, in areas where WFP has food assistance programmes such as MERET, school feeding and refugee assistance. There are two different stove designs, the “tikikil” rocket stove and the “mirt,” a closed stove with a chimney to avoid smoke within the house.

Additional funding needed

The project has been registered and recognized by the United Nations Convention Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is a first for WFP globally. Every year, each stove should reduce carbon dioxide emissions by one metric ton and generate one carbon credit valued at US$1 on the global carbon credit market.

The environmental benefits are seen nearly immediately after a stove is installed, as the stoves reduce the need for firewood by half. Fuel wood is the main driver for deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions in Ethiopia, according to the Ethiopian Environmental Protection Authority.

Asnaku Kasse, who uses the “mirt” stove, explains that it also has huge economic benefits.

“I am saving on my firewood purchases, and I can use that money to buy condiments for sauces and clothes for the children,” Asnaku says, adding that her eight children now enjoy hot meals every day when they are back from school.

The stoves project is already helping improve lives in Ethiopia, but WFP sees even greater potential.

“If we want to scale up this project and really make an impact on the lives of many people, we need additional funding,” added Hakan Tongul of WFP.

After initial funding of US$225,000 from KfW, the safe-stove project has now become a voluntary initiative of the UN World Food Programme in partnership with , the ministries of Agriculture, Forestry and Environment, Water irrigation and Energy, Education, Finance and Economic Development.

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