“When you get into the kitchen you get into people’s culture”
– Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones, 14 February 2012
Getting into the kitchen was high on the agenda of US Assistant Secretary of State Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones during her visit to Ethiopia this week.
As proponent of the Global Alliance on Improved Cook Stoves, Dr. Jones' agenda was to understand the cookstove dissemination situation in Ethiopia and report back to the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a leading supporter of the Global Alliance for Improved Cook Stoves.
During her trip, Dr. Jones visited the family of Ato Amenu and W/o Wossene to see their domestic biogas plant in Sebeta Woreda, Dima village, about 30 km west of Addis Ababa. The family are proud owners of a biogas plant constructed in 2010 under the National Biogas Programme Ethiopia (NBPE). The programme is part of the Africa Biogas Partnership Program (ABPP), funded by the Dutch government and implemented by HIVOS and SNV. SNV provides capacity development services, while HIVOS is the regional fund manager.
Ato Amenu’s family is one of 2,700 households in Ethiopia who have invested in a biogas installation with the support of the NBPE. The NBPE aims to disseminate 14,000 biogas plants during the first phase of the programme (2010-2013).
The family now enjoys clean energy from biogas for cooking and lighting. They cook three meals a day, and enjoy five hours of lighting in the evenings from biogas. The family grows vegetables, fruit, and spices using bio-slurry fertiliser from the biogas plant. Mr. Amenu said the use of bio-slurry had increased the family's agricultural production, significantly improving their income.
The Assistant Secretary also visited a MIRT Stove Producer Women's Group in Sebeta town. The group members, who were once worked as fuel wood collectors in the surrounding patches of forest, now produce twelve stoves per day. The MIRT stove enables a 50% saving in fuel wood as compared to traditional stoves.
Dr. Jones was accompanied by Edwin P. Brown and Moges Worhu, of the Regional Environment Office of the US Embassy in Ethiopia. SNV was represented by Dr. Getachew Eshete and Mr. Melis Teka.
Following her visit, Dr. Jones met with representatives of key organisations working in the cookstove sector in Ethiopia , including SNV. SNV was represented by Ms. Phomolo Maphosa and Mr. Willem Boers. Discussions centred on how stakeholders can continue their work in the clean cookstoves sector to ensure improved health of women and children through reduced indoor air pollution.