Friday, May 03, 2013

Rammed Earth Cookstove Project in Chad

Remember the ingenious F.I.R.E.S. rammed earth stove project developed by Tristan Cooper for the East Africa Trust?

Now Envodev, an NGO whose mission is to develop vocational opportunities that correspond with the need for better cooking methods and more efficient cooking energy will be launching their own version this summer in Chad to enhance their eco-charcoal project.

Most Chadian households rely on wood or charcoal burned in what is essentially a wire basket to cook their meals and beverages.
Can you imagine trying to make breakfast with a few little ones milling around this device?

Obviously this technology is woefully inefficient and poses immediate and long-term health risks to its users,  mostly women and their families.

Fortunately, it is customary in Chad for girls and women to grind flour from grain and manioc with ironwood pestles. Through Envodev's programs, these traditional skills are now being applied to the production of an energy-efficient, economical fuel source and further, to the construction of rammed earth cookstoves to burn said fuel, giving women good paying jobs that men lack the strength and endurance to accomplish.

 To quote Mark David Heath, from whose personal networking page I pinched the preceeding photos:
Since the mortar and pestle are traditional "women's tools," by having the women ram the soil with the pestle sticks we got past the cultural issue of women working in construction. In fact, none of the men could ram the soil for days as the women did.  The women would ram 8 hours per day, 6 days per week, for weeks.
Mr Heath's photos highlight not only the eco-charcoal project, but also the world's largest contemporary rammed earth enclosure near Kome, standing proud after nearly a decade of  typical weather. In this part of the country, that means more than 40 inches of rain each year.
When implemented, this project will counteract deforestation, provide skills and employment, improving air quality and the well-being of women and children.
Does this project resonate with you?
Do you enjoy the information provided here at Rammed Earth is for Everyone, year after year?
Perhaps you might consider showing your appreciation by making a donation in our name to Agro-Charcoal in Chad as Vocational Enterprises.

At post time they are just $12,825 short of the budget goal for this project. 
This site sees about 1500 readers each month, ten dollars from each of us would get this project off to tidy start.  

I shouldn't have to remind anyone who has read this far that there is very exciting work being done on the continent of Africa  to further the field of modern rammed earth construction. It can only help those in the "developed" world to share resources with those who can make the boldest use of them. Support for Envodev's projects will further enhance the use of earth as a modern construction material throughout Africa, while providing environmentally sensitive skills and education to underserved communities.

It sure would be nice to see them build their charcoal center from our favorite building material.
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