One of the major environmental challenges in our partner countries is the use of biomass-burning stoves since most rural households are heavily reliant on firewood for their energy needs. As a result, Vita provides fuel-efficient stoves, which require less fuel and produce fewer emissions. A community-based approach is used to train women on how to construct, maintain and repair the stoves, ensuring that future generations will also benefit from them. These stoves use 50% less timber, so less time is spent gathering firewood, a task traditionally carried out by children and women that takes a family up to 20 hours a week. The new stoves also emit less smoke and have resulted in a major reduction in eye and respiratory diseases. Finally, on a global level, the stoves reduce CO2 emissions, thereby mitigating against climate change.
To date, over 50,000 stoves have been constructed with the help of Vita and its local partners. They have directly impacted on the lives of more than 200,000 people, saving thousands of tonnes of CO2 emission.
Scientific studies have shown that an improved stove will save about 5 tonnes of CO2 emissions over its life time by reducing the amount of timber burned. This saving is eligible to be sold on the Voluntary Carbon Market which in turn will provide more capital for more stoves, creating a chain reaction. Vita, together with local partners in Eritrea, is assisting the Eritrean Ministry of Energy to develop this programme. Many people now recognise that they need to act responsibly with regard to the effects that they have on global warming. They are trying to reduce their impact on climate change by making changes in their work practices and lifestyle but they are also are looking to act responsibly by offsetting their carbon emissions.