Sudan: Security benefit for use of fuel efficient stoves, in Darfur

In the displacement camps of Mornei, Darfur, Concern are involved in an initiative which provides fuel efficient stoves to displaced women, meaning they need to spend less time outside their camps collecting wood.

As with elsewhere in Africa, the onus is on the women of the camp to collect the wood yet in Darfur this is more of an imperative than elsewhere. Concern's Sarah O'Boyle explains, "If a man wanders outside the camp and is found by the Janjaweed he will almost certainly be killed whereas as a woman might 'only' be raped."

The majority of those killed in Darfur have been men and boys while thousands of displaced women and young girls have been raped. The many displacement camps that have sprung up offer them their only protection from the militias and army.

Yet the women are forced to leave the camps in order to find fuel for cooking. The women gather wood in groups of five or six for safety and stay as close to their camps as possible. However the sheer numbers of displaced people has led to an increasing scarcity of wood and the women are forced to wander further from their camps in order to find wood, leaving them more vulnerable to rape and attack.

The advantage of the fuel efficient stoves are manifold. Primarily, because they require less wood, the women have to venture into the bush only once as opposed to three times a week, meaning they are at far less risk of physical or sexual abuse. Using less wood means the depletion of local fuel sources is slowed down and less smoke is omitted than with traditional fires.

The stoves are made from a mixture of water, clay and donkey dung all of which are sourced locally at no cost. Concern have already hosted two training sessions where the women learn how to construct and use the stoves. 50 women were involved in each session and each woman agreed that she would in turn pass the knowledge on to five other women.

The stoves are enclosed, meaning there is far less risk of fire spreading than with basic open fires which can be hazardous in crowded camp situations. The risk of small children falling into the fire is also removed by the fact that the stove is enclosed.