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Indoor Cooking With Outdoor Benefits

Cooking may well become a regular indoor activity, thanks to smoke-free, low-cost stoves manufactured locally by a non-governmental organization called Enterprise Works.

The technology, manufacturers say, requires less energy to operate than previous stoves. Atsu Titiati, the country director for Enterprise Works in Ghana, says, “Our product is aimed at reducing environmental degradation. It’s an energy-saving device that uses 40 percent less fuel, especially charcoal. This means a reduction in the amount of trees cut down every year for fuel.”

Titiati says the stoves have a ceramic lining that holds heat. And unlike the traditional coal pots, these have vents for regulating airflow can be regulated. “You can use it indoors because it doesn’t spill ash or dust. It burns cleaner and is more efficient.”

The stoves are made mostly of scrap tin metal sheets, found in junk cars, and the need for them has provided employment for trained local artisans. Titiati points to “ceramists who make the linings, tinsmiths who build the stoves, [and] a retailer network that sells them.” He says the technology is not only appropriate for its locality, but is also sustainable. Manufacturers are reporting high sales and are expanding sales to other cities in the country and beyond. He says, “The technology is very well known in Benin, Niger, Senegal, and then in East Africa and most African communities where charcoal is the choice of fuel for cooking.”