A scheme has been set up in Kenya to provide refugees in Kenya with 10,000 affordable stoves that have a near-negative impact on the environment, using bio-ethanol instead of charcoal that is six-times more efficient than the solid fuel.
Called the Safi Stove and developed by Rural Development Solutions, Samsung is helping distribute the cooking stations in the Kakuma refugee camp, situated in the north west of the African country.
The durable and cheap-to-produce units run entirely on sugar-based ethanol and replace the need for the charcoal that is scarce, polluting and largely unaffordable for refugees. Bio-ethanol sells for 100 Kenyan Shillings, around 70p or $1, a litre, and lasts for up to six days for the average household, whereas six days of charcoal costs in the region of 240 Kenyan Shillings – nearly two and a half times more. Getting hold of the charcoal is no easy task, either, with women and children often having to endure a five-hour walk or long queues to get hold of supplies of the fuel.
The Samsung Kakuma scheme follows on from another very similar drive by Samsung that the electronics company was involved in in November 2017, when it delivered 10,000 eco-stoves to households in Mombassa. It stands to make a really positive impact there, where 80% of the community in Kenya’s second largest city use charcoal that leads to increased deforestation, greater air pollution and in many cases forces residents to use more expensive and dangerous fuels owing to their volatility, such as petroleum and kerosene.
According to the Rural Development Solutions website, the company behind the Safi Stove, the bio-ethanol used is dyed so that it is not confused with drinking water and is approved by the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute. The programme is backed by a bottle re-use scheme that economically incentivises people to return empty bottles.
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