Sticks carried, balanced on a young person’s head

7,000 Safe Stoves for Darfur Refugee Mothers

About The Program:

7,000 Safe Stoves for Darfur Refugee Mothers provides 7,000 Darfuri refugee families with a safe and efficient way to prepare meals using the Mud Stove, created and implemented by Darfur Women Network. Safe Stoves positively impacts survivors of genocide in Darfur refugee camps. Providing these stoves for refugees reduces health and safety risks as well as encourages ecological preservation.

During her visit to Chad, Executive Director of Darfur Women Network, Mastora Bakhiet, led a field study to the Touloum Camp to determine an alternative, more affordable stove for refugees. During this study, Bakhiet and her team created, the Mud Stove (a fuel-efficient stove clay stove) as the most practical, fuel efficient, inexpensive, safe and adaptable one. Refugee mothers quickly preferred this stove as the best option. The Mud Stove could be easily crafted onsite with locally available materials, generate income within the camp and reduce firewood collection significantly. Under direction of Darfur Women Network, Mud Stove production quickly began. From August 2014 to the present, Darfur Women Network has successfully and efficiently distributed over 400 safe stoves to the poorest mothers among the refugees.

After DWN reaches the goal to provide each family in the Touloum camp with a Safe Stove, this program model will be replicated and used in the remaining 11 refugee camps in the region.

The Need:

This Safe Stove Project targets 7,000 families who are living in Touloum Darfur refugee camp in Chad. These men, women and children have been living in this camp for more than decade. The refugees have no consistent source of income, children suffering malnutrition, water shortage and trauma due to the genocide that forced them to flee their own villages to survive.

Traditional cooking methods require firewood requiring women and girls to walk several miles into the forest which are known to be dangerous attack zones. This is their only source for retrieving firewood. Leaving the camp early in the morning, they must “walk many miles (often a 17 hour walk) into the desert near border to Sudan,” according to a Darfur Women Network representative in the camp. This daily trip is not only a physical burden, but it also puts them in great danger. “Spending up to four days per week collecting firewood outside the camps exposes them to the risk of sexual attacks and rape from local militia and men residing near the camps,” according to a report by the United Nations Humans Rights Council. The wood they collect in the forest is either used in food preparation or resold to help support their families. This journey is extremely dangerous and the women and girls are exposed to assault, abduction, exploitation, rape and even death.

Employing alternate methods of cooking will not completely eliminate the need for firewood as it is still a primary source of desperately needed income. However, adapting a safe fuel-efficient stove will reduce the length of time required to collect firewood, the number of trips into the forest lessening risk of attack, protect refugees from smoke inhalation and open fire threats as well preserve the forest from desertification.

How Can We Make This Happen:

By supporting 7,000 Safe Stoves for Darfur Refugee Mothers, you can make a difference in the safety, health, community and well-being of refugee families living in the refugee camps in and around Chad. Additionally, each family who receives a Safe Stove will also receive 3 trees to plant in or around their camp, shelter or farm area.

In addition to health, safety and ecological preservation, Darfur Women Network believes education and team-building within the communities will help generate long-term stability for individuals and families. Refugees will have insight to determine the needs of their communities, work together and ensure long term sustainable management of natural resources both in the camps and when they return home to Darfur. Income generating skill sets lead to self-reliance, community participation, and leadership development as well as transformation and decision making.

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