Fatima fled to Chad during the war in Darfur, along with more than 200,000 Sudanese. They set up refugee camps in the Sahel 15 years ago, an arid region in the neighbouring country of Chad. Many are still there.
Daily life for women and children in the camps used to involve venturing out in search of firewood to cook with. At first, finding wood was manageable, but they would find themselves having to forage further afield every day. By wandering the Sahel in pursuit of firewood, they were regularly risking their lives.
As I came to Iriba 5 years ago, there was enough firewood for the people. But since the displaced people came here, the consumption increased drastically and firewood got really short, so both are suffering.
Marie Rose Neloum - President TchadSolaire
The cooker itself is a knot of foil-coated cardboard with a matte black pot at its centre. By angling the pot at the sun (which shines 330 days a year in the Sahel), a meal can be slow-cooked in a few hours. It is completely smokeless and does away with the dangerous pursuit of firewood.
They are made locally by women like Fatima in six workshops spread out over the refugee camps. Each workshop is run by a team of 20 or so industrious women who are paid for their time.
The cookers are distributed around the camps and surrounding villages with the recipients being trained in how to use them.
On average, the project saves 20,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year (i.e. the emissions saved in New Zealand by 364,698 native trees growing for 20 years).
It also has the most astonishing co-benefits:
- Health and wellbeing - the camps are healthier with less smoke and fire.
- Safety - more than 50,000 women and girls don’t have to spend their days risking their lives searching for firewood.
- Environment - more than 50% of the local vegetation has been saved.
- Gender equality - jobs are created for women in the camps.
- Economic growth - a team of around 20 women and few men per camp is responsible for the stoves' assembly, distribution, and supervision.
- Education - children have more time to attend school, as they don't have to spend their days collecting firewood.
All women like it very much, They say it is very safe and never causes burns. As soon as you’ve set your food, you can do anything else. You can wash the kids or you can go and get water or visit a sick person in the neighbourhood. This is a lot of additional time you can use.
Guety Beleyondo - Senior trainer - TchadSolaire
By getting the project's CO2 reductions certified by the Gold Standard Registry, FairClimateFund can sell carbon credits to help finance replacement cookers when they reach the end of their lives. By helping finance replacement cookers, we're making sure women like Fatima have a steady supply of the materials they need.
We want the camps in Chad to have access to solar cookers - and all the co-benefits they bring - for as long as they need.