Women spend most of their time on unpaid work. As a way of providing local solutions for the rural women who spend most of their time fetching firewood, Nutrition Action Zimbabwe introduced heat-efficient clay stoves in rural Zvishavane to lessen the burden while promoting good nutritional practices.
In line with this year’s International Women’s day theme: ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality,’ the fuel-efficient stove technology is heat efficient and the clay stove uses a few twigs to feed the whole family making it easy for women to do other related chores without spending time looking for firewood.
The stove is movable and can be used in different places. It produces little smoke as compared to the old firewood stoves. In addition, it means less stress on the environment and allowing communities to quickly recover from disasters. The stove has made house chores easier for women in rural areas. Before the introduction of the tsotso stove, it was very challenging to balance fetching firewood and other house chores.
Sekai Makurira(46) from Murevegwa Village said, ” Before the tsotso stove was introduced, life was not easy, especially to some of us who do not have male children who could go and cut down trees in the mountains. Sometimes we could walk a long distance in search of firewood, but with tsotso stove now we are no longer walking long distances and we can use twigs or maize cob residues to cook food in time.”
The tsotso stove has been able to provide more time for the mothers, to feed their children with the 4-star diet and also be able to do other things.
“The tsotso stoves have given us more time during the day with our babies. The stove keeps heat and hence we are always able to serve our family and the children hot meals,” noted Makurira.
In rural areas, it is a criminal offense to cut downtrees for firewood, yet this is the only source of energy. However, the introduction of the Tsotso stove by Nutrition Action Zimbabwe has come as a great relief for rural women and this has in turn reduced the rate of deforestation in Murevegwa village.
“With the introduction of the tsotso stove, we are now using twigs to make fire and we are no longer cutting down trees in our communities. People are now picking twigs that will be falling from trees. School children are no longer struggling, they are now making meals faster using the tsotso stove,” said Sinipiwe Musiwa, one of the tsoto stove users.
The tsotso stove has given birth to entrepreneurs. Apart from cooking with it, women are now earning a living from selling the stoves. Each stove is being sold for $10 US dollars.
“Tsotso stove has not only made our house chores easier but we are now earning a living from it. So far I have sold one stove and I have used the money to pay for my child’s school fees and to pay for the grinding mill,” said Mudanga Nhamo(31) from Chisvaure village.
“I have sold 7 stoves so far and I have earned $70 that I used as business capital. I am now selling tomatoes and airtime and I am now able to pay my children’s school fees. It is really working for me, right now some stoves are still in process and people are placing orders.”