In April 2015, Bishops’ Appeal funded a project created by Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) to promote and build energy efficient stoves, known as Tsotso stoves, in Seke Ward 3 and Seke Ward 4 in Zimbabwe. These stoves are designed to use fuel more efficiently, so they will heat up and stay warm with less firewood. Deforestation has already made collecting firewood more dangerous and time consuming for the women of the community, so this project sought to free up more time for education and work by reducing their reliance on fuel.
The project ran from April 2015 to October 2016, and in that time 30 community members were trained to be Tsotso stove builders. Through their training, and the provisional of some materials by VSO, they were able to build 200 stoves for families in the Seke Ward villages. The main target for this project was vulnerable households, such as child and female headed households, people living with HIV/AIDS, and families with disabled members. These families can now heat their home using less firewood, saving them time and expense, while also improving their environmental health by reducing smoke and soot inside their homes.
The stove builders can also act as advocates of the Tsotso stoves, highlighting their advantages and encouraging more families to use them. This is a really positive development, as it is helping the whole community to rely less on firewood, lowering the rate of deforestation.
For more information about this project, see here.