Posted on 01 July 2019

Until recently, Hadija Hasan Chocha cooked her family’s meals on an open fire in a thatched kitchen at her home in Mchakama Village. “Three time a week I would walk to the nearby forest to find firewood. And with each year and changing season the distance increases. I had to walk farther and farther to find wood for cooking,” said Mrs Chocha during ha visit in her home “That’s why I am so excited about this new stove.”
A housewife and mother of two, Mrs Chocha’s household depends on small scale agriculture hence the daily family income is low to afford neither gas nor electricity.
In January 2019, Mrs Chocha was visited by Ms Bakari, her sister in-law and a local artisan trained by WWF and SUHODE partnership. In the course of their conversation Ms Bakari informed her about the various disadvantages of traditional inefficient stoves and explained the importance of improved cook stove. In her mind Mrs Chocha thought that extra expenses for her family but got interested when Ms Bakari started talking about how the stove used less firewood and the medical condition associated with indoor air pollution like conditions like asthma, headache and eye diseases caused by firewood smoke.
‘’I knew I wanted to reduce my trips to the forest and I had experienced most of the health conditions she had mentioned, right there i knew I had a solution. Though I was not sure if what she was telling me was true, how can three firewood sticks cook three meals? I must see to believe’’ she said chuckling  
The next day Ms Bakari arrived with her fellow trainees and began constructing the stove. The Chocha household watched in doubt and amazement. After few days of work Ms Bakari handled over an improved three holed with a chimney stove to the family. Following a brief session on how to use and care for the stove.
‘’I remember we had a bunch of firewood that we normally use for two days, I took it in the kitchen pulled three sticks and began cooking the family lunch. I prepared a three-course meal at the same time. At the end I had firewood left. I used the same sticks while making dinner. My kitchen had less smoke, I have used less sticks and all meals where ready at the same time. I was astonished.’’ said Mrs Chocha in excitement.
After discussing the stove’s outcomes performance at the end of the first day, the couple decided to wait a week to conclude on the effectiveness of the stove. When the week ended the household realized they have cut down their firewood consumption to 80%.
‘’The stoves have transformed my household use of energy. I will not go back to the open fire it was wasteful and unhealth.  Now we collect wood every 5 days! I have more time to care for my garden and poultry. We are also happy with the stove because we use less firewood hence support our village forest conservation efforts’’. said Mrs Chocha
Speaking on the safety features of the stove Mrs Chocha says she is much at easy allowing the children to use it because it is safe. Mentioning at times the children came school for lunch break while she is on the farm, now she allows them to make their food and back to school on time.
Chocha’s household is one of 331 households who have received and improved cook stoves equivalent to 60% of all household since 2016. To sustain the initiative   47 local artisans have been trained to in proper use and handling of the stoves through WWF Leading the Change Programme funded by Sida. In partnership with SUHODE, the programme energy component aims to increase the use of sustainable, clean and affordable energy in Ruvuma Landscape.
Posing in front of her new improved cooking stove Mrs Chocha of Mchakama Village
© Diana Shuma