Since 2003, conflict in Darfur has killed at least 300,000 people and forced more than two million people from their homes, many of whom now live in large displacement camps spread throughout the region. Families in camps receive food aid, but they still must gather firewood to cook their meals. Due to the size of the camps (some have more than 100,000 residents) and the desert-like terrain, wood is increasingly scarce. In some areas, women walk up to seven hours to find a single tree, risking assault every step of the way. To avoid danger, some Darfuri many women purchase wood from vendors… by selling the very food they need to feed their families.
What We’re Doing
Since 2007, Potential Energy and our partners have distributed tens of thousands of fuel-efficient cookstoves to Darfuri women. These specially designed cookstoves decrease women’s exposure to violence by reducing their need to collect firewood; eliminate the need to trade food rations for fuel; create a healthier cooking environment; and lessen the destructive impact cooking has on the environment.
The cookstoves were developed by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Engineers without Borders. Women in Darfur provided feedback at every step of the process, ensuring the stove design fits their needs. As a result, the Berkeley-Darfur Stove is specifically tailored to the windy climate, the sandy terrain, the pot size and to the cooking style of stove users in Darfur.
Cost-Effective Supply Chain and Local Employment
Each stove starts out as a flat sheet of metal in Mumbai, India. Our manufacturing partner stamps the stove design into the metal sheets to make “flat-kits.” These “flat-kits” are shipped by boat to Sudan, then taken overland to Darfur where they are assembled by a local organization, Sustainable Action Group.
Creating Sustainable Markets
To ensure quick delivery in a humanitarian crisis, we distributed the first 20,000 stoves for free. Now we are applying business approaches to help our local partner sell the stoves and build a sustainable business. Because each stove saves a woman almost $1 per day in firewood expenses, it pays for itself in less than a month.
Plan Canada/Plan International
Sustainable Action Group
Take a peek into the Berkeley-Darfur Stove Assembly Shop!