A little stove known as Peko Pe is not only saving trees but bringing an affordable source of energy to a rural community in Zambia
Jacqueline Vergeer, 35, who started using the Peko Pe recently said that she had found it to be very effective and efficient, helping her to save the money she used to spend on charcoal.
“Due to the high cost of charcoal, I stoppped preparing foods like beans which require a lot of energy. From the time I learned about the Peko Pe, I have managed to reduce money that I spend on my household energy requirements,” said Mwape.
Zambia currently loses 350,000 ha of its forest per annum, largely as a result of the charcoal trade which is rampant in the country.
Seventy percent of households in Zambia rely on charcoal as an inexpensive fuel for cooking and heating. Poverty and limited livelihood options drive charcoal production in Zambia, where subsistence agriculture is the dominant land use.
To counteract the problem, Hivos in Southern Africa is supporting the Chongwe Green Society and Home Energy Limited, a Zambian private company, to promote the uptake of the Peko Pe, a fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly cooking stove in Chongwe, Zambia.
The stoves have a burner unit that can be used with twigs, sticks, reed, husks, groundnut shells, maize cob left over, and waste from carpentry workshops and saw mills.
The Peko Pe, which means: “No problem”, was named by women in a refugee camp in Uganda, who thanks to the stove, no longer had to take long and dangerous trips out into the forest to collect firewood.
Hivos and its partner organisations are currently campaigning at national and international level to reduce climate change and alleviate poverty by opting for 100% renewable energy.
“Women and the youth are now burdened with the need to fetch firewood to meet home energy needs. However, due to deforestation they now have to cover longer distances to fetch this fuel. This has multiple effects on the households; women have to spend more of their time looking for firewood in additional to their daily chores, while the young people sometimes have to miss school, and if they attend they are normally tired,” said Wesley Litaba Wakun’uma, Hivos’ Project Manager in Zambia.
Wakun’uma said that the stove’s simplicity allows for local assembly and community wealth creation.
“The overall objective of the project is to improve energy access and living conditions in rural Zambia. There will be a specific focus on off-grid solutions for those communities located far from the power grid,” said Janet Rogan, UNDP Representative to Zambia.