Continents »  Africa »  Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe: Household Energy Case Studies

This country synthesis report is based on a detailed country report, which may be accessed through our dynamic report builder is available here.


A Household Energy Demand and Use
B Household Energy Supply
C Household Energy Sector Governace
D Household Energy Information
E Household Energy Case Studies

E. Household energy case studies

Zimbabwe is divided into natural regions (I-V) according to the average annual rainfall. A low income rural family was observed in Denhere Village Gutu district. It lies in the agro-region third part of natural regions. The family includes five members that are living in a cluster of three round huts made of pole and dagga with grass thatch.

The father is the head of the family and is employed in Harare. He visits the home mostly during holidays and brings with him groceries and pays for school fees. His wife is in charge of the home when her husband is gone. She prepares the meals, tends the fields and animals, collects water and wood and cares for the children. The children are involved in the daily chores. In this family, two people are productive and three are juvenile dependants (still attending school).

Cash comes on a monthly basis from the father working in town. There is a seasonal cash inflow from the sale of grain and other crops. The wife manages the household (cooking, cleaning and fetching wood).

As head of the family, the father makes decisions on household spending in consultation with his wife. In terms of fuels, cooking, food provision, it is the duty of the wife to make sure that everything is in order or done. Income sources include sales of crops and vegetables. There is also credit available from the AgriBank that caters mostly for farmers.

The construction of the house and the kitchen was accomplished by the father who sub-contracted the local builder. The kitchen house is a thatched rondavel, based on the traditional designs and was built by the local builder. The main living buildings are a cluster of three round huts made of pole and dagga with grass thatch. The father and mother share one hut for themselves whilst boys and girls have their own hut. In cold weather the family members gather in the kitchen during and after cooking and then retire to bed thereafter.

Food preparation is done by the wife, with some occasional help from the children. The kitchen is separate from the main huts and a metal grate stove is located in its center. The wife selects the stoves, pots and plates that she needs for cooking. But the husband makes the decision since household furnishings are his preserve. The used metal grate stove is a modification of the four stone fire. Scrap metal is joined together to form a support structure that is used to hold two or more pots.

Meal preparation takes about one and half hours per day. Typical meals are sadza and relish for lunch and dinner. The breakfast includes boiled water and tea leaves with bread from shops or baked over charcoal. Bread baking is usually done over night. Tea takes normally half an hour to prepare.

The decision on fuel purchases is made by the wife. She also decides what fuels are used. For cooking and space heating the wife uses wood, since heating is a welcomed side effect of the open fire during cooking processes. Normally this is provided for in the evenings and particularly during the winter season, when wood use is estimated to double. Furthermore wood logs are used in the curing of bricks. Traditional brick kilns are built and used for curing bricks.

Other fuels used by the family are kerosene and old motor vehicle batteries. For lighting, kerosene is used in a wick lamp. Compared with batteries that are used for powering the radio and television.

The wife and the children are responsible for supplying fuel. They spend about seven hours per week on collecting fuel.

Though the household knows much about better kitchen management techniques, wood is predominately the major source of energy. Fuel substitution is desired especially to paraffin and electricity, but the costs are a major constraint, as the family is unable to pay them.

Sparknet, May 2005
Last edited by Miriam Hansen .
Page last modified on Sunday September 19, 2010 19:02:31 GMT.
  • A practitioner's journal on household energy, stoves and poverty reduction.

Upcoming Events

No records to display