Until recently, much of 28-year-old Nonormopoi’s days were consumed with tasks related to preparing food.
As a Maasai woman living in the remote village of Alchaniomelock, she cannot simply turn on her stove and whip something up. No, for Nonormopoi and for all the women in her village, providing sustanance for her family is typically much, much more involved.
Women here spend a huge chunk of time searching far and wide on foot to find any fuel they can, carrying the wood whatever distance is necessary. Traditionally, they would then devote hours more to cooking on an open, three-stone fire inside of a small, dark, nonventilated hut.
Several months ago, however, Nonormopoi received an efficient stove with a chimney from Maasai Stoves and Solar (MSS).
“She is just smiling, because she is very happy to get a stove,” says AMSO Program Director Mbekure Metemi of the young mother of three. In a collaborative effort between AMSO, MSS and Maasai Partners of NCN, an initial 150 stoves are expected to be completed by the end of 2016.
These stoves reduce deforestation by requiring much less firewood than traditional, open fires, dramatically improve living and health conditions by reducing CO2 levels inside homes and allow area women a more efficient method of cooking and heating.
Additionally, the stoves are much safer.
“Before, you always had to worry about the children being harmed by the fire,” Nonormopoi explained; now, the stoves are not in the center of the house and are closed, virtually eliminating the chance of a child getting injured while creating more space and less smoke. She said the children use the solar light given out with every stove at night to study.
Another huge benefit to this project is that it fosters stronger communities.
With cooking time reduced from up to three hours to 30 minutes, women are able to congregate in a house with a new stove and share the new resources. They are able to leave wood burning longer, therefore conserving their supply, so their neighbors can use a stove owner’s stove once she’s done cooking.
Kimanjoi, who also lives in Alchaniomelock, agrees with her neighbor that the stoves are changing the lives of people in the village. Kimanjoi is one of about 20 women who have been trained so far to build the stoves in Alailelai Ward.
She said she likes to have a skill, a job and new knowledge—if she needs to move her house, she says she would be able to build the stove again from scratch.
Now that there is a base of trained area women, the cost to build a stove has gone down to about $75. We plan to build 200 more by the end of 2017.
“Everyone should get a stove if they can,” Kimanjoi said.