In some areas of Chitwan, many families only settled down a few generations ago. Before that they lived as hunters and gatherers in the forests that now form the ‘Chitwan National Park’. With the opening of the national park in 1973, families had to give way and get used to a new lifestyle in the hills outside the park.
They have always used open wood fires for cooking and have continued to do so to this day, as other fuels such as gas or kerosene are unaffordable. The women, because collecting wood is women’s work, often have to walk long distances in order to carry the heavy load back to their village for hours after several hours of felling. Often the daughters have to support their mothers with the urgently needed wood procurement and therefore cannot attend school.
Less wood and less damage
In order to improve living conditions, we have installed clay stoves in the households that are specially tailored to the needs and climate of the region. Unfortunately, they cannot be used in the high mountains.
These stoves can reduce wood consumption by around 50%. This not only relieves the surrounding forests, but of course also the women and girls of the village. You have to spend much less time on the arduous wood procurement, which you can now use for income generation or school.
More safety and better health
The resulting smoke is discharged through a pipe. This avoids eye, stomach and lung diseases that result from regular and long-term inhalation of the smoke. In addition, using the stoves significantly reduces the risk of fire due to flying sparks compared to an open wood fire.
The clay ovens are met with great enthusiasm:
“The new stoves have made our home much cleaner. I save a lot of work. On the one hand, I have to cut a lot less wood and on the other hand, I have to wash less because our laundry is not constantly sooty and smells of smoke. Our house has only one room and the children always had to go out when I was cooking because the acrid smoke from the wood fire burned their eyes. Now they can help me or do their homework while I prepare rice and dal. I also have more time to look after my children or work in the fields and earn something, ”said Devimaya. She is the mother of three children and lives in one of our project villages in Chitwan.
The women of the village appreciate the new stoves and the positive effects they bring.