Authored by Brad Czerniak

Bussi Island is located in the Wakiso district, which suffers a deforestation rate of 86.7 percent. The leading cause of deforestation is the increased demand for agricultural land, charcoal and fuel wood by a rapidly growing population. The majority of villagers often cook using the three-brick/stone method, which requires massive consumption of firewood, increases carbon emissions and has serious consequences for people's health. Over time, women that use this method of cooking may suffer blurred vision and lung disease.

To promote hassle-free cooking and a healthy environment for women in their homes, the Health of People and Environment in Lake Victoria Basin (HoPE-LVB) project introduced two types of energy-efficient smokeless stoves on Bussi island. Both stoves rely on local materials and are simple to build, maintain and use. HoPE-LVB promotes this smokeless, energy efficient technology, enabling villagers to use less firewood and protect their health and eyesight. The introduction of the stoves has contributed to conservation of firewood, hygienic cooking atmosphere, reduction in health hazards and cooking time_and decreased deforestation. Importantly, when women are no longer forced to spend their days collecting firewood, they can devote more time to community problem-solving and income generation for their families. Half the female stove builders were also trained as village health teams to offer family planning services and information to their community. The overall goal of HoPE-LVB is to reduce threats to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem degradation in the lake basin, while simultaneously increasing access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health to improve maternal and child health in project communities. The energy efficient stove campaign exemplifies the power of this integration and the HoPE-LVB project.