Our feature series this week is on appropriate technology. We began by learning about its use in Africa, including improving irrigation and building small tanks to catch rainwater. Tonight’s topic: the fuel efficient stove, which uses less than half the fuel of traditional stoves. Bruce Parmalee is the Africa and Mideast operations director an NGO called CHF, “Community, Habitat and Finance.” The group tries to find appropriate livelihoods for the poor and is currently promoting the use of the fuel efficient stove in Darfur. Parmalee told VOA English to Africa reporter Cole Mallard that large numbers of displaced people in Darfur camps are using the stoves, thereby saving resources and reducing the need to search for firewood.
He says the technology can be useful in any country with a large concentration of displaced people who need fuel. In addition to Sudan, those countries include Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Ivory Coast.
Parmalee says fuel efficient stoves in the camps are better than solar stoves because solar, although an excellent technology, is not as easy to transport and use in the camps.
He also says solar power is more expensive, more fragile, and not as portable. Also, much of the cooking is done at night, making it impossible to use solar power.
He says the technology for making fuel efficient stoves is very simple and lends itself to locally manufactured tools and supplies. Parmalee says the stove is round: “you could use an old car wheel as a template to make the body of the stove…. This is a simple item.“
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