A Rustic Energy Solution to Save Uganda’s Forests

With only 10% of Uganda’s rural population connected to the electrical grid, there is little option but to burn wood, leading to one of the worst deforestation rates in the world. Every year, 2.6% of the country’s forests are cut down for fuel, agriculture, and to make way for population growth. If things stay as they are, Uganda will lose all its forest cover in less than 25 years, the country’s National Environment Management Authority says. This is where Badru Kyewalyanga’s home-produced cooking devices save the day, they use less wood and mean villagers are breathing cleaner air. Fist-sized balls of mud are pelted into the ground to form the body of the stove. This technique forces out unwanted air, making the stoves one solid mass and preventing cracks. As the stove takes shape, it is moulded around the trunk of a matooke tree, a banana-like plant common across Uganda, which has been cut and arranged to form the ventilation chambers, combustion chamber and chimney. Over the two-week period it takes for the mud to harden, the trunk will rot away, clearing the chambers for use. For the final touch, a chimney is fitted to the wall allowing the acrid woodsmoke to escape. Besides reducing the amount of wood used, the stoves provide huge health benefits.


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