A refugee woman in Burkina Faso cooks rice with a “Blazing Tube” solar cooker! Photo UNHCR / O. LOMPO
Lack of safe access to cooking fuel is a significant challenge for refugees. According to UNHCR’s first large-scale assessment of 3,308 refugee households in Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, the vast majority – some 90% – rely on firewood for cooking and spend an average of 31 hours a month on firewood collection. This represents time that could be invested in more productive activities such as studying, working and family care.
Moreover, one-third of those beneficiaries have experienced conflict with host community members while collecting firewood.
Oliver Lompo, UNHCR Environment Officer in Burkina Faso, demonstrated the success of one solar cooker called the “Blazing Tube.” The stove is assembled in the US and costs around $100. “Before the introduction of the stove,” Oliver noted, “refugee women had to walk several hours a day to collect firewood. Since we have a lot of sunshine, the stove allows them to cook without spending any more time on firewood collection. And, more importantly, it does not produce any smoke – they love it.”
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