Families warm up to fuel-efficient stoves scheme

Ideal for use in traditional households in Trung Khanh district, the improved models require less charcoal or wood, while still serving the needs of an average family. Available in steel, clay or a unique combination of both materials, the stoves are purchased for as little as USD10 – USD15, with Fauna & Flora International Vietnam (FFI Vietnam) covering half the cost plus transportation.

Mr Nguyen Duc Tho, the communication and education officer at FFI Vietnam said, “This is the second time we have distributed stoves in this area. We first started this scheme in 2006. Since then we have subsidized the cost of 500 stoves, while working closely with the local community to track the effectiveness of the stoves. Following their feedback, we have commissioned the design of new models that are smaller, making them much more portable and user-friendly; thus meeting the diverse needs of local lifestyles.”

A total 151 stoves were recently distributed and made available to families who desired one. Typically women in the Trung Khanh district are responsible for collecting fuelwood from the forest, previously spending as many as 22 days a month gathering wood. But thanks to the fuel efficient nature of the stoves, women are now spending as little as eight days in the forest. This means there is much less deforestation in important areas for biodiversity.

Cao vit gibbons. Credit: Zhao Chao/FFI.
Trung Khanh is home to Cao vit gibbons like this mother and baby. Credit: Zhao Chao/FFI.

Country Director of FFI Vietnam, Dr Ben Rawson revealed that the stoves initiative is an example of the practical solutions the organisation delivers in order to further conserve wildlife and their habitats. He explained, “Trung Khanh is home to one of the rarest species on the planet – the cao vit gibbon. These fuel efficient stoves reduce the impact on the forests where these gibbons live giving them a better chance for survival. The local community benefit as well, as it saves them time and reduces the amount of fuel wood they need. It’s a win-win initiative.”

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