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Issue 27

Women, Woodfuel, Work and Welfare


For resource - poor women the working day stretches from dawn to long after dark. The pressures on women's time are fierce, end cooking and fuel collection are among the most arduous of their tasks. The effects of inhaling biomass smoke during cooking are receiving increased attention from researchers, but the impacts of fuel shortages on cooking and nutrition are scarcely noticed.

As fuel shortages make extra demands on time and energy, women are driven to venous coping strategies. More time spent collecting fuel can mean less time growing or preparing food so that quality and quantity of food diminish. Malnourished women become more vulnerable to smoke pollution which injures their lungs, eyes, children, and unborn babies. But improved stoves can cook faster and use less fuel, which lowers levels of exposure to biomass smoke and releases time for other activities.

Our theme message is consistent and urgent: women need relief from their burden of work. Greater technology choice can help to emancipate women from drudgery and give them more control over precious resources. In some places cooking is a particularly time-consuming task, so an improved stove which cooks faster may be a source of delight. Elsewhere, fuel-management strategies by women save more fuel than carefully planned stove programmes. Stove technologists can offer choices, but decisions about household energy technologies should be in the hands of women, the real experts on cooking.

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Table of Contents


Women, Woodfuel, Work and Welfare

Authors: BP Editorial Team
For resource - poor women the working day stretches from dawn to long after dark. The pressures on women's time are fierce, end cooking and fuel collection are among the most arduous of their... [more]

Theme Articles

Energy Transitions in Africa

Authors: Chris Howorth
Since the 1970s the energy crisis in the South has been recognised and, as a consequence, substantial portions of Northern aid packages have been donated to address the improvement of Southern... [more]

Fuel Collection and Nutrition in Nepal

Authors: Shubh K Kumar, David Hotchkiss
Early work in Nepal has shown that deforestation in the hill areas, even in the most densely populated parts, is more likely to occur from low agricultural productivity than from pressure of... [more]

Air Transfer Heat Storage Cooker

Authors: Stephen Fisher
The heat storage cooker has been developed by ITDG in Nepal in collaboration with a UK company, Dulas Engineering. The main aims of the work are to investigate materials and processes which enable... [more]

Wood Energy Use in Small Enterprises from Wood Energy News

Authors: Wood Energy News
In the last week of October '91, a national workshop on wood energy use in small enterprises was organized by the National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC), in collaboration with the Regional... [more]

Improved Stoves, Time and Fuel

Authors: Jamuna Ramakrishna
For that major proportion of the human population that spends most of its waking hours struggling to meet the basic need for food, water and fuel, a stove that cooks faster and saves fuel can be a... [more]

Less Fuel for Food

Authors: I D Brouwer, L M Nederveen?, A P den Hartog?, A H C Vlasveld?
Brouwer et al. point out in their 1989 research report that the presence of several confounding variables renders generalisations about the impact of fuelwood scarcity on nutrition somewhat... [more]

The Value of Women's Time

Authors: Peter Watts
One of the most important considerations to be taken into account in any rural development project is time. Not in the sense of the planned duration of the project, but rather the way in which... [more]

Women in Stoves Programmes

Authors: Sithembile L Nyoni
Stove programmes in third world countries were introduced as an intervention strategy to subvert the "woodfuel crisis", a side shoot of the energy crisis of the seventies...

The Effect of Fuel Efficient Stoves

Authors: Apollonia Lugemwa
These are the results of the follow up I made with my women's groups who have installed improved cookstoves. The stove accommodates 2 cooking pans at the same time. It is raised and... [more]

We Have Never Felt It So Enjoyable To Cook

Authors: Liu Hongpeng
At the end of 1990, there were 210 million households, nearly 900 million people living in rural areas in China. Almost every rural household's daily meals were prepared by women using stoves with... [more]

Stoves Forests and Women

Authors: Cornelia Sepp
Stove projects concentrating on the improvement of women's living conditions can be defined as women's projects. But even when stove projects are primarily ecologically orientated, women must be... [more]

Reflecting on Women, Children and Stoves

Authors: Anne Holderness Sefu
The links between women and stoves differ from those between men and stoves for both cultural and biological reasons. The connection between stoves and children is partly to do with women's... [more]

Learning as we teach: A dialogue with cooks

Authors: Caroline Ashley
"What can you do if fuelwood is scarce?" "Eat bread" suggested one woman. "Eat salad", said another. "Cook two meals at once", said a third. Such are the coping strategies usually employed by... [more]

General Articles


Authors: Small Scale Hydronet
HYDRONET - is an international publication promoting communication between all those dealing with minihydro power. It provides a platform for an interchange of experiences, activities, problems... [more]

News Section

About ITDG and SHE

Authors: Steve Bonnist, Peter Watts, Catherine Budgett-Meakin
Over the past 25 years The Intermediate Technology Development Group has grown from a tiny band of volunteers into an organisation of some 250 people working full-time with offices in seven... [more]

Last edited by Mohamed Allapitchai , based on work by raffaella , Mauro Vanzini , Christopher Hughes and Nelson Ko .
Page last modified on Friday 21 of June, 2013 13:22:38 GMT. @HEDON: PVTN

  • A practitioner's journal on household energy, stoves and poverty reduction.

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