Fuel Efficient Stoves in Zambia and Zimbabwe

€10,420 and €8,000 respectively

Bishops’ Appeal funded this 1 year Self Help Africa project for the making and using of fuel efficient stoves in Zambia and an ongoing Fuel Efficient Stove Project in Zimbabwe:

Project Information

Project name: Improving lives and the environment through the adoption of fuel-efficient cooking stoves in Zambia.

Location: Chipata district, Eastern Province, Zambia

Partner: Mfumbeni Development Association

Project Description, Aims and Objectives:

This agricultural and environmental project aims to improve the environment and the lives of 500 smallholder farmers in Chipata district in Eastern Zambia through the production and adoption of fuel-efficient stoves.

The project’s objectives are to:

1.     To minimise farmers’ dependence on forest resources by reducing the amount of firewood required to meet their household needs through the use of fuel-efficient stoves.

2.     Promote, demonstrate and disseminate energy efficient stove technology in the rural communities of Chipata district.

3.     Improve beneficiaries incomes and job creation through stove production.

4.     Improve beneficiaries living conditions by reducing hazardous smoke from traditional stoves.

Summary of Total Budget & Requested Amount from Bishops’ Appeal:

Item                                                                                          Amount €

Training of trainers in fuel-efficient stove production             €3,277

Community awareness and demonstrations                          €52

Training of stove producer groups in production                   €3,231

Construction of kilns for stove production                              €1,706

TOTAL                                                                                    €10,420

We are requesting a grant of €10,420 from Bishops’ Appeal to cover the entire costs of this one-year project.

Energy Efficient “Tsotso Stoves” in Seke Ward 3 – Zimbabwe


The project will address the high deforestation rate by promoting energy efficient Tsotso stove. The project will develop skills to construct, promote and manage the energy efficient Tsotso stove within Seke Ward 3 communities.


Zimbabwe has been ranked among the slowest growing economies in sub-Saharan Africa, lagging behind war-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique1. Unemployment is high and due to a lack of employment, many people have relocated to peri-urban areas which results in high demand for fire wood, deforestation and a drain on the time of the women and girls who collect it.

Problem statement


self-helpOne such area is Seke Ward 3, located 35km north of Chitungwiza Town and roughly 60km south of Harare. Seke ward 3, because of its proximity to Harare and Chitungwiza, is faced with a large influx of people from these areas. The influx has also been exacerbated by the Operation Murambatsvina of 2005. Operation Murambatsvina was an urban clean-up campaign, which was meant to de-congest urban areas by pulling down illegal settlement structures. The exercise controversially pushed many families from the urban areas into peri-urban and rural areas. The rural population expansion has caused indiscriminate cutting down of trees for firewood and for sale. Due to this high degree of deforestation, firewood is now hard to find in this community. Firewood is the main source of domestic energy, and women and girls who traditionally collect fuel for the household, have to travel by foot an average of 16km to and from firewood sources. Women often have to carry bunches of firewood double their own weight. In the process of walking long distances to fetch firewood, women and girls endure huge risks of being apprehended by law enforcement agents (mandated with preventing firewood collection) or risk being sexually abused. They also have little time to participate in other livelihoods activities or to attend school.

A total of 200 energy efficient Tsotso stoves are now completed and will benefit 200 households identified as vulnerable in Ward 3, which has a total of 22 villages and almost 1320 households. There are still hundreds of vulnerable households for whom a Tsotso stove could make a huge difference to their daily quality of life, in terms of reduced health risks and time for other essential activities.

Aim To expand the provision of energy efficient stoves to the communities in Ward 3 of Seke District. Objectives:

1) To increase the coverage of alternative energy efficient Tsotso stoves from the current 15% of households to 38% (200 to 500 stoves).

2) To increase knowledge and skills of the 300 households to construct and manage Tsotso stoves.

3) To educate the community about ways of conserving their natural resources and to raise awareness of health and gender equality issues.


Target group


The primary target group of the intervention is 300 vulnerable households. Households categorised as vulnerable are: people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), single-parent, female or child headed families, households headed by the elderly, families looking after orphans and families with disabled members.



VSO and BTCZ (Bless the Child Zimbabwe) use a training of trainers approach. The trained members will impart the skills to other members, creating a ripple effect of people with the required skills. This approach enhances the sustainability of the project within the community.

Construction of energy efficient stove.

The Tsotso stove as constructed by the communities replaces an open fire system used in the kitchen. This project will target 300 more households thus increasing the coverage to 38%. The stove saves firewood and produces enough energy for cooking. The communities have embraced the concept and so far 12 builders have been trained. The proposed project will entail training 20 more builders. Currently the communities have realised the following advantages from the energy efficient Tsotso stove:

  • Many women interviewed concurred that the stoves conserve firewood. One piece of wood could cook a meal for the family.
  • It is hygienic. The use of the doors prevent ashes from spreading in the kitchen and the chimney controls the out flow of the smoke so the kitchen is smoke free and easier to clean.
  • The stove has multiple plates and multiple cooking can easily take place.
  • After cooking mothers can leave water on the stove to boil overnight for children to bath before going to school the following day.
  • The stove is attached to the kitchen wall thereby creating a roomy environment for multiple purposes.
  • Children can use the stove with minimum risks of being burnt.
  • The stove can be used whilst standing (instead kneeling) which is resulting in more men being
  • willing to use it, as kneeling is traditionally done only by women.
  • Traditionally when a wife dies the in-laws take all the kitchen equipment leaving the family with nothing. These immovable stoves ensure the family can retain their property.
  • The stoves provide a good source of warmth to the kitchen where families typically spend the evenings.

Imparting of knowledge

self-help2Women will be prioritised as candidates to be trained as volunteer stove builders. Culturally women spend more time in the kitchen and have a greater vested interest in the stoves. The trained builders will in turn train others. The trained builders will conduct routine monitoring of the constructed stoves and maintenance as necessary. The community will give a token of appreciation to the builders as part of the community contribution towards the project.

Educating the community: conservation, health and gender


BTCZ will hold public meetings at the start of the project with the communities to give all the stakeholders the opportunity to raise questions, make recommendations on how the project is implemented and to raise awareness of issues linked to the stoves, such as conservation of natural resources, health and gender roles. These issues will also be addressed at intervals throughout the project. To enhance project sustainability BTCZ will promote environmental conservation activities alongside. Community empowerment will take place at individual, household, village, ward and district levels. People will be empowered to establish individual and communal woodlots, reforestation using exotic and indigenous trees, gully reclamation using stones and Vetiver grass; all which can be done with minimal financial input. Environmental conservation activities should also help to reduce hostility between law enforcement agents and the villagers. The stoves have been shown to have positive health benefits including reduced smoke inhalation. Additionally, they reduce the amount of time and distance women and girls have to search for firewood, thereby reducing the very real risk of sexual assault and the multi-faceted consequences of that.

Finally, VSO and BTCZ both have a track record in Zimbabwe of empowering men and boys to take part in activities usually designated to women or girls, particularly in the case of providing care to people with HIV and AIDS. Using participatory methods and group dialogue, BTCZ will facilitate the target households to reflect on gender stereotypes (such as women and girls doing all the cooking and household chores), the problems created by it, and to move towards possible solutions or behaviour changes.

Implementation though volunteerism Local Zimbabwean volunteers will provide the main source of manpower. Volunteerism can transform the pace and nature of development by promoting the idea that everyone can contribute their time and energy towards the project implementation. Both VSO and BTCZ advocate for volunteerism, integrate volunteerism into development planning and mobilise volunteers. The volunteering approach will help to enhance program sustainability, efficiency and value for money. Community volunteers will contribute to:

  • Community mobilisation and promotion of the benefits of the stoves
  • Building the stoves
  • Provision of food for the builders
  • Training further builders
  • Provision of locally available materials
  • Planting of trees.


  • 300 vulnerable households have a functional Tsotso stove
  • Households have reduced fuel needs.
  • Increased participation in household chores by boys and men.
  • Trained builders experience an increase in income from stove building.



The overall anticipated impact of the project will be reduced deforestation, a reduced risk of sexual abuse for women and girls and an increase in available time for other activities. An improvement in the health of women, girls and boys who participate in firewood fetching activities is also expected due to the reduced work load and lowered risk of sexual abuse. Duration Four to five months from start date. Reporting, monitoring and evaluation Reporting VSO Ireland will report to Bishops Appeal within three months of the end of the project. VSO Ireland will also ensure that Bishops’ Appeal is acknowledged on our website and will publicise the project to relevant faith-based stakeholders such as local Irish parishes and diocesan magazines.


Monitoring and review

VSO will conduct monthly monitoring visits to the project site as well as regular updates with BTCZ. The BTCZ Project Officer will do the day to day monitoring and on-site support. VSO country offices conduct annual partnership reviews with all current partners which enables us to identify challenges, best practices and areas for strengthening.

Budget ITEM COST (€)
Community sensitisation meetings 253
Training of builders 872
Stoves (plates, grates, chimneys) 9,081
Transport of materials to site 290
Local staff salary contributions (1 VSO, 3 BTCZ) 1,323
Local project monitoring 380
Programme support and local office utilities 801
Total 13,000