This week the World Food Programme (WFP) launched a pilot project to provide fuel-efficient stoves to women in Sudan and Uganda, to reduce the risk they run of being attacked while gathering firewood and to protect the environment from desertification.
“Women and girls should not have to risk their lives and dignity – and precious trees should not be lost – in the simple act of trying to cook food for their families,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran during a press conference at the COP15 climate change conference in Copenhagen. "The SAFE stoves launch will help protect them and the environment with practical and urgently needed solutions."
Refugees and women who live in drought conditions are forced to walk far into the bush to collect firewood. They chop down trees and uproot grasses, harming the fragile eco-system and often go into unsafe areas, risking attack and rape.
WFP’s Safe Access to Firewood and Alternative Energy in Humanitarian Settings (SAFE) project will distribute of fuel-efficient and “improved mud” stoves to assist almost 100,000 women in North Darfur. These stoves consume less firewood and lower health risks associated with smoke.