Cyclone victims in Madagascar get help with Earth Hour wood stoves

Posted on 23 March 2013    
A Toliara local with a wood-saving stove. The daily use of these 1000 stoves will protect 175ha of forest and save 6,650 tons of wood per year
© WWF-Madagascar
Toliara – Earth Hour commemorations in Madagascar had as their highlight the distribution of one thousand wood-saving stoves to victims of the recent cyclone Haruna in the southern town of Toliara, extensively damaged in the February 22nd storm.

The initiative by WWF and the Association for the Development of Solar Energy (ADES) allows each family that receives a stove to cut their charcoal consumption in half while also protecting forest, reducing emissions and save themselves money.

“The daily use of these 1000 stoves will protect 175ha of forest and save 6,650 tons of wood per year. 4000 tons of Co2 emissions can be avoided and each beneficiary family will be able to spare some 1750m2 of forest every year,” said José Randrianirina Patrick, Director of ADES’ Centre in Toliara.

"Each family can save at least $3 a month by using our stoves, $36,000 per year for all beneficiaries. This is a lot in a country where 80% live on less than $1 a day,” Patrick added.

Switching off the lights makes little sense for a population where the majority has no electricity at home, so the spirit of Earth Hour, in a country like Madagascar, must be in line with people’s lives.

"The conservation of the environment and economic interests are not contradictory. WWF Madagascar’s experience demonstrates that environmental protection always accompanies the development on a national or regional level as well as families and communities“says Richard Hughes, Regional Representative at WWF in Madagascar.

“In these difficult times when families rebuild their lives after cyclone “Haruna”, we hope that the contribution of these wood-saving stoves by WWF and ADES will assist them in rebuilding their lives."

Deforestation is the main environmental threat and the demand for fuel wood and charcoal is leading to a rampant degradation of Madagascar’s unique natural forests. 80% of the population cook with charcoal or fire wood and 92% of the energy used in Madagascar every day is for cooking purpose.

8000 ha of forests for charcoal each year

Toliara is no exception: its annual charcoal consumption was estimated in 2012 to be 30 000 tonnes, which means 8000ha of forests, are being decimated every year.

"If efficient, wood-saving stoves are used by all 35,000 households in Toliara, we believe that coal consumption will decrease by 50% and the area of forest lost to the exploitation of charcoal too. During Earth Hour we hope to inspire people to adopt these stoves," said Rina Andrianarivony, Fuel Wood Programme Officer at WWF.

10,000 trees to green schools in Antananarivo

In another Earth Hour event, WWF is collaborating with the school district of Antananarivo, to plant 10,000 trees around the capital.

"Through this action, we promote the idea that Earth Hour must go beyond the hour,” said Rachel Senn Harifetra, Head of WWF Madagascar’s Education Programme.. “Reforestation and maintenance of seedlings are among the actions that Malagasy youth should adopt at an early age."

Since Earth Hour 2012, WWF has been assisting in training the school supervisors in planting techniques and the maintenance of plants.

For live updates on Earth Hour 2013 starting Thursday March 21, go to

A timeline of stories for Earth Hour 2013:
See the Earth Hour 2013 Official Video at
Press images can be downloaded at
Downloadable video footage of the global event will be available in four B-rolls for media, covering major regions at

Media enquiries:
Benjamin Vozzo, Earth Hour Global Ph: +65 8223 1728
Mai Tatoy, Earth Hour Global E: Ph: +65 9017 7411

To join the global community head to:
Earth Hour

About Earth Hour
Earth Hour is a global environmental initiative by WWF. Individuals, businesses, governments and communities are invited to join the global community for the world’s largest the world’s largest voluntary action for the environment that has become the iconic symbol of people’s commitment to protect the planet. This year sees a celebration of environmental outcomes generated by its participants around the world. In 2013, Earth Hour’s ‘I Will If You Will’ concept invites individuals and organisations to challenge others to an ongoing environmental commitment beyond the hour. Earth Hour began in one city in 2007 and by 2012 involved hundreds of millions of people in 152 countries across every continent, receiving reports as ‘the world’s largest campaign for the planet’.

About WWF
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, with almost five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. 
A Toliara local with a wood-saving stove. The daily use of these 1000 stoves will protect 175ha of forest and save 6,650 tons of wood per year
© WWF-Madagascar Enlarge

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required