A sizeable number of households in Victoria Falls urban lack access to grid electricity and are forced to resort to other alternatives such as using charcoal or illegally harvested timber for cooking and heating in their households. These substitutes are often costly to the environment, and time consuming, usually to female children or women. Rocket stoves which are predominantly designed for fuel efficiency and reduced carbon emissions would offer a much-needed solution to the problems associated with timber poaching, as people turn to cutting down trees to make open fires for cooking.
In May 2022, the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust in Partnership with MyTrees, a non -for -profit organisation, initiated a rocket stoves distribution exercise which has reached 4360 people in Hwange West urban communities to reduce the devastating threats that our precious woodlands confront. The goal is to provide rocket stoves to people living in areas without access to electricity, vulnerable groups in society such as the elderly, people living with disabilities, and child-headed families.
Inefficient combustion of fuel has been one of the key drivers that have led Zimbabwe to be among the countries hit by greenhouse emissions. It is estimated that in Zimbabwe, 262 000 hectares of woodlands are lost every year through deforestation and land degradation driven by timber poaching. The rocket stove is uniquely designed to take in a less fuel (approximately 70% less) in form of small branches, tree bark or twigs.
Objectives of the Rocket stoves project
- To reduce deforestation activities in and around Victoria Falls urban areas.
- To minimize community dependence on timber by cutting down on the amount of fuel used for household needs.
- To reduce cases of human-wildlife conflict. Mostly, women are responsible for collecting fire wood for cooking and heating and they often travel further and further from home as nearby timber sources are depleted. The process is time consuming and puts their lives in danger because of the presence of potentially dangerous animals in the vicinity such as elephants and lions. In addition, they spend more time, illegally gathering timber for cooking instead of looking for formal employment or taking care of their children. To learn more about the plight of women in North West Zimbabwe, watch the testimonial of Princess Moyo as she narrates how the Rocket stove has changed her life.
- To ensure that the resort city of Victoria Falls remains a clean, sustainable, and green destination
- The City of Victoria Falls seeks to be a green destination and is earmarked at offsetting the carbon footprints and preserving the environment by achieving carbon neutrality. The rocket stoves will assist the city in its intended contribution to global decarbonisation efforts as it strikes a balance between the carbon emitted in the atmosphere and the carbon removed from it.
In an interview, Mr. Vivian Mlambo, a wheel chair bound representative of the Association of People living with disabilities in Victoria Falls stated that people living with disabilities faced a lot of challenges when searching for Timber to use for cooking. He reiterated that after receiving the improved cook stove, he now relies less on timber because he can now pick up some twigs and small diameter branches from around his yard to use as a source of fuel when using the rocket stove. Watch the moving testimonial of Mr. Vivian Mlambo and kindly donate to a worthy cause.
“Rocket Stoves don’t require Rocket Science” by Kattie Conaway.