Their remarkable discovery: simply placing rocks in primitive cookstoves cuts firewood usage by a third.
Sun24, a Florida based non-profit, has discovered that the simple act of placing rocks in primitive cookstoves cuts firewood usage by a third. It has partnered with the Catholic Church to train over 1.5 million women in just five months of training.
3 billion people rely on cooking over open fires or primitive stoves. Most use wood. Women average 15 hours per week collecting firewood, subjecting themselves to sexual assault. Women and children become ill and die breathing cookstove smoke. Firewood harvesting causes deforestation. The black carbon emitted from these cookstoves is a major contributor to climate change.
Amazingly, the simple and free act of placing rocks in these cookstoves cuts firewood usage by a third and smoke is greatly reduced, too. Kevin McLean, Sun24’s president, says: “The women love using rocks in their cookstoves because they spend much less time collecting firewood and their family breathes much less smoke.”
In partnership with Sun24, the Catholic Church is training women to use rocks in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea, Gabon and Sierra Leone. In each diocese, they train parish women leaders who train village women leaders who train everyone, regardless of faith.
Because they are disseminating an idea, not a product, dissemination is quite rapid and extremely inexpensive. Training costs about one penny (US) per household. McLean said: “The adoption rate is high because the women love it. They share the idea with their friends.”
Despite decades of efforts to improve cooking in the developing world, the number of families cooking over open fires and primitive cookstoves has remained about the same. Cooking with rocks can easily and quickly improve the efficiency of these cookstoves by a third.
For more information, see the Sun24 Rock Bed Summary.