In 2014, EcoZoom partnered with Relief International to bring clean cookstoves to internally displaced populations in Somalia. These populations are deprived of safe access to cooking fuel and other basic resources. 83% of the households interviewed by Relief International were cooking outdoors on open fires, and 67% spoke about burns and breathing problems as health hazards while cooking.

Women and girls are at a great risk of gender based violence in areas of conflict as they are the primary firewood collectors of the household. For up to 90% of women in Somalia, rape is a major risk of safety during firewood collection, as militiamen are notorious for firewood theft and violence. The majority of women reported having to walk an average of 4.5km twice a day to collect fuel, often alone. 

Clean cookstoves are valuable in these situations. An EcoZoom cookstove produces up to 60% less smoke, and uses up to 70% less fuel than an open fire. This means that women and girls are using less firewood to cook, and are therefore spending less time with their lives at risk while out collecting fuel.

With support from UNICEF, Relief International piloted a project to introduce fuel efficient EcoZoom stoves amongst internally displaced populations residing in camps across Somalia. As well as helping keep women and girls safe, the stoves reduced tensions between the IDPs and host communities who were competing for scare resources like firewood.

Amina, one of the 20,000 women to receive a stove said, “I really like the new stoves using less wood. I can collect small pieces of wood close to home, and I avoid the militiamen who harass us. I can cook everything on it. Thank God I don’t have to collect firewood like I used to.”   

An estimated 130,000 women in Somalia still need fuel efficient stoves. We have worked in conjunction with NGO’s like the Red Cross (ICRC), the World Food Programme (WFP) and Relief International to distribute cook stoves in countries like Nigera, Mexico, Papa New Guinea and many others.

The AidEx Nairobi Conference is a two day high-profile conference which attracts over 500 aid and development professionals from East Africa and beyond. At this event we will learn from the challenges and success stories of our peers, interact with hundreds of other aid and development professionals, as well as hear from policy makers and thought-leaders in the sector. 

We will be showcasing our solar lights and clean cookstoves at the event on the 13th and 14th of September in Nairobi. Our solar lights help families eliminate kerosene for lighting, and the stoves drastically reduce harmful emissions.Products like ours play a key role in making the lives of displaced or impoverished people that much safer and easier.

Stay tuned for more news on our experience at the AidEx Nairobi 2017 Conference, and visit this page to watch the video from our Somalia project with Relief International!

Read AidEx's blog post on helping women in Somalia here

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