Insaf (centre) learns how to make fire briquettes from animal and household waste. (Copyright:WFP/Katherine Carey)
WFP's SAFE stoves project means a lot to women in Darfur's north where collecting firewood for cooking has always put women at risk. Displacement and conflict-related environmental degradation forced women to travel long distances in search for firewood spending days away from their children. Not anymore.
Tawila, NORTH DARFUR -- For over six years, Rwanda camp for internally displaced people has been home to Insaf, her husband Hussain and their brood of seven.
"Fighting forced us to flee Shoshoko, our village which is some three kilometres away from here. We had to leave everything behind; we came to this camp with nothing," says the 35-year-old mother who gave birth to three of her children in the camp. "WFP food has kept us alive and kept our family together," adds Insaf. Every month, the family receives a WFP ration of cereals and of pulses.
Insaf's husband gets seasonal work in tobacco and okra famrs around Tawila and cultivates sorghum on a small plot close to the camp. The money he makes barely covers the family's growing expenses though especially that all their children go to schools except the two younger ones.
"He makes some small money but it is never enough,"says Insaf. "When WFP launched their stoves project I did not think twice, I just signed up for it."
Insaf and nine other women particpated in WFP's Safe Access to Firewood and Alternative Energy (SAFE) project in North Darfur. They learnt in 11 days how to make simple stoves and fire briquettes from animal and household waste. During the training period each woman received an extra 3kg of cereals for their families.
"The project offers triple benefit for women," says WFP SAFE Project Officer Amit Singh. "Women do not need to travel long distances to collect firewood and face risks and the consumption of less firewood enables them to save the money they would otherwise spend on buying firewood."
SAFE gives Insaf and other women like her safer, cheaper and greener means to cook their food while also helping them make some money through selling the stoves they make.
Since completing the training, Insaf has made some 250 fuel-efficient stoves of different sizes that she sells in the local market.
Insaf sells big stoves called "ladaya" for 10 Sudanese Pounds (approximately US$1.5 dollars) and the smaller size 'kanoon" for 7 Sudanese Pounds (US$1)."
"WFP has not only given my family food, it has also given me a skill I can use to help my husband support our children," says Insaf. "Now, I do not need to wander to far from the camp to collect firewood and I feel a lot safer."