Better cooking stoves for smoke free meals

On visiting Mayange Primary School in Bugesera district, Eastern Province, one could not help but notice the jovial atmosphere and excitement on the pupils’ faces. They were bidding farewell to inhaling smoke from their previous cooking fire place as they welcomed a new invention- an energy saving stove with less smoke emission.
Cooks at Mayange Primary School: The improved stove provides cleaner air for everyone.
Cooks at Mayange Primary School: The improved stove provides cleaner air for everyone.

On visiting Mayange Primary School in Bugesera district, Eastern Province, one could not help but notice the jovial atmosphere and excitement on the pupils’ faces.

They were bidding farewell to inhaling smoke from their previous cooking fire place as they welcomed a new invention- an energy saving stove with less smoke emission.

They were thrilled as they watched John Munyansanga, the inventor of the eco-friendly stove, light it up for the very first time.

For Mayange Primary school it was the first time, but for Munyansanga, he had installed the stoves in more than ten schools in the district.

According to Munyansanga, these improved institutional stoves, made of bricks are designed in a way that they use half the amount of dry wood as compared to the common three-stone fire stove that the schools were using.

“The new stove saves up to 55 per cent of firewood as compared to the common cooking method that save only 39 per cent,” he said.

The new stoves are comprised of a one piece oven with two combustion chambers that can fit two large saucepans. The stoves are also built with a passage that serves as an exit for the smoke from the burning wood.

Unlike with the previous stoves, Munyansanga’s new eco-friendly stoves direct the smoke away from the kitchen and the school.

Munyansanga explained a major breakthrough that schools would get by adopting to his eco-friendly stoves. “Big institutions that use firewood for cooking will now be free from chocking smoke,” he said.

Innocent Nkusi, a teacher at the Mayange Primary School, said that the pupils will have reason to smile because the smoke that always surrounded the school during meal time will be no more.

“Our kitchen will be healthier, more comfortable and easier to keep clean,” Nkusi said.

The installation of the eco-friendly cooking system is part of a UNDP environmental conservation programme, through the Millennium Village Project designed to make schools   more eco-friendly.

A one-week study commissioned by the Millennium Village Project to differentiate the three stone stove and Munyasanga’s stoves showed that the newly adopted stoves had other benefits to the school.

The study showed that the three-stone stoves could support sauce pans with a maximum capacity of 100 litres, while Munyasanga’s new stoves can accommodate saucepans of up to 250 litres.

While each new stove costs Rwf1.2 million to install, Nkusi said that in the long run, it would be a worthwhile investment because they save up more energy.

“The new stoves will bring about a favorable budget in schools and we will use the firewood money for other development projects,” Nkusi said.

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