Rachel Yavinsky, Behind the Numbers
Energy-Saving Stoves and Family Planning Benefit Women and Families in Rural UgandaJanuary 23, 2013 By Wilson Center Staff
After 45 minutes on Lake Victoria in a wooden fishing boat, my PRB colleague and I arrived on Busi Island, one of the Ugandan sites of the HOPE-LVB (Health of People and the Environment – Lake Victoria Basin) project. PRB, who partners on this project, came to Busi Island to see HOPE-LVB in action.
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The growing population of the island (currently about 40,000 people), combined with the cutting of wood for sale to the mainland, is diminishing fuel resources and increasing the amount of time that women must spend collecting firewood. The main sources of living on the island are fishing and small-scale agriculture. Almost all households rely on wood for cooking, so I was particularly impressed with the project’s work with energy-saving stoves.
I visited two homes that are serving as HOPE-LVB model households, meaning that they practice sustainable agriculture and resource planning, have additional livelihood sources such as livestock and home gardens, and have a healthy understanding of reproductive health and family planning. The HOPE-LVB project has provided energy-saving stoves and family planning/environment training to both of these families. At the first home, the parents of eight children and grandparents to two proudly showed off their new stoves and store of wood. Pointing at the gathered branches, the woman told us that before this firewood would have lasted for about two days, but with the new stoves it will last her three weeks. She also said that she used to have to sit for hours over the cooking, watching the food and feeding the fire, but now she can put some food on the stove and walk away to take care of other things, only returning occasionally and saving her a lot of time.
Photo Credit: Busi Island, used with permission courtesy of Rachel Yavinsky/PRB.