Practical Action East Africa Project Featured at Official Launch of International Women’s Day in Rwanda

The official launch of International Women’s Day in Rwanda has featured an innovative improved cookstoves project by international development consultancy, Practical Action Consulting.

The project was chosen as part of an organized event to profile the UN’s International Women’s Day by the Rwandan government and launch the start of a month long programme of women focused events across the country.

The event was attended by over 10,000 people, including Rwanda's first lady, Janet Kagame, representatives from UN agencies, local and international non-governmental organisations, and Government departments, in Kayonza district, outside Kigali.

The Minister for Gender, the District Governor and the President of the National Women’s Council were amongst dignitaries who visited households where the project’s improved cookstoves have been installed.

Managing Director of Practical Action’s consulting arm, Greg Beeton said: “We are delighted that our project has been selected to feature as part of the launch and that the Rwandan government recognizes the impact that the project is having on the lives of poor people in Rwanda.

“Cooking is traditionally the responsibility of the female members of African families and so the issues associated with cooking on open fires such as health implications, disproportionately affect women. With this in mind it’s prudent that the project has been chosen to mark the launch of International Women’s Day and reflects Rwanda’s very positive gender policies. Rwanda is the only country in the world where women make up over 50 per cent of MPs.”

Almost all rural households in Rwanda (98 per cent) depend on wood and other fuels as their main source of cooking energy. With a growing population, the Rwandan government is obviously keen that the available fuel is efficiently used by its population, ensuring sustainability.

The aim of Practical Action Consulting’s improved cookstoves project is to reduce fuelwood consumption in rural Rwanda by introducing a locally appropriate stove design, called Canarumwe (meaning ‘one stick of firewood’ in Kirwanda). The design of the stove uses less wood than a traditional cookstove and also emits less smoke, making them healthier to use.

The project is using a sustainable model by training potters in rural areas to make the stoves, which are then sold at an affordable price of 2,000 Rwandan Francs (around £2). Savings in fuelwood mean the cost of buying the stove is paid back in just two months. Families can also afford to buy more food with the extra money saved, improving health overall.

Pottery production units in 15 out of Rwanda’s 30 districts now know how to make the stoves, which aim to sell 23,000 by the end of the project. This will directly benefit 100,000 people. The client is the Government of Rwanda’s Energy, Water and Sanitation agency.

The President of the Rwandan Women’s Council said “We love this stove because it reduces consumption of wood fuel and costs. We are currently mobilising women to contribute financially so that we can order and distribute these stoves to vulnerable households.”


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For further information, please contact Abbie Upton, Practical Action Media Officer, on 01926-634510 or 07714-205342